From Script to painting, the N15 Enforcer

One of the future projects we have looked at undertaking at Digital Raven, is a reboot of our first collective project which was a Star Craft video.  Several months ago I set out to re-image the relatively short script, and tweak it into a series of web shorts.

Based on the fact that we are not focusing on Space Marines in full armor I had to come up with a weapon that would fit into normal unassisted human hands.  Using the Impaler as the base model and looking at some of my favorite “futuristic” looking guns I came up with the N15 Enforcer.

First let’s look at the C-14 Impaler, designed to be wielded by 9 foot tall power suits.. needless to say, I needed to come up with something that fit this style, but was smaller.


So step one was to look at guns in a simplified form… in this case as silhouettes.  I also dragged in a P90 and a KRISS, as they are two of my more favored futuristic weapons.



Based on those I came up with this outline of the N-15 Enforcer…silsfinal

Here is the Enforcer with all the detail lines added.  silsdetails

In a lot of way the detailed line version is a pretty good guide, for a prop maker, to get a handle of how to put it together.  But often times it is a lot better to get the entire idea, coloration and details down before passing it on here is the value study of the Enforcer.

Here is the values color shifted a bit and a lot more the edging detail worked in.. details

Here is the final gun design with textures added.




My trip to the Old Republic

This weekend I was lucky enough to try out Bioware‘s newest proposed waste of life and time: Star Wars The Old Republic.  Before I get to deep into this rant of sorts, as I fear that is where this review will end up, I have a few things to say about Star Wars, Bioware, Lucas, and story telling.

When a True Reboot for Star Wars comes out, not just some hacked up “remastered” “3D-Added” the bad guy shoots first bullshit, but a true reboot.  I hope someone slap Lucas with a wet fish, gags him, locks him in a closet and then hands the reins over to Bioware.  I was raised on Star Wars, grew up in a world where it was the ultimate movie, and then I turned 17, A Phantom Menace came out, and my world crumbled.  Well I still have Hope, Empire and Return… but.

Let’s face it, as awesome as Light-sabers, Wookies, Han Solo, Blaster fights, and droids can be, the story as a whole is not some amazing literary work of art.  Lucas’ triumph was in the world he created and the doors he opened up into the wider world of SFX.

Bioware on the other hand, they are me, but someone gave them a budget, Lucas gave them the rights, and then they found awesome story writers.  Out of all my most memorable Star Wars moments, I would say half come from Bioware video games.  So please Hollywood hear me on this one, let Bioware Reboot the series, and if you need proof, go watch a few trailers.

Anyone onto the game… I have done a few beta test in my life, but this has to be the weirdest I have personally been part of.  I was given a weekend to test it out in, and it was kinda bad weekend, Holiday Weekends are not a time when I have a lot of “free” time to play a video game, let alone get invested in an MMO.  Also as a Freelance Artist and a nine to fiver, it is hard to say “okay I can give up a weekend…”.

However I made time, I picked the Sith Empire, and as a fan of “nothing beats a good blaster at your side..” I rolled up a bounty hunter.  Let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the game.

Character Creation.  It pretty cool, based on the Faction and Class you pick you get a choice range of races, and each race has a few steps to diversify your look even more.  Weight/Height, Scars, Piercings, Accessories, the normal with a Star Wars twist.  It is not a far ranging as say APB Reloaded, or City of Heroes, nor is it as fixed as World of Warcraft.

Quests:  This is a huge thing for me, I hated WoWs Quests 90% of the time.  Some dude asks you to go collect 5 wolf pelts, and even though you are a HERO WHO IS TRAINED in a specialty, you get to the field and your “sword/ax/rifle/magic” turns into a nuke which destroys any chance you had at ever SKINNING THE F*CKING ANIMAL!  Or some jackass ask you to go on an EPIC QUEST to get a BOOK off the table HE IS STANDING IN FRONT OF!

Well I am happy to report that SW:ToR doesn’t do that annoying shit, well as far as I could tell.  It is the rest of the standard junk though: “Go here, kill this dude.”  “Go out a kill 8 of these.”  However there is a twist, class specific story driven quests.  As a bounty hunter I had to go take care of some of the Hutt that controlled the starting areas pesty enemies, but in order to do that I had to go into special instances that where only for me and my group.  Pretty cool little twist, and if you go back?  Dude is dead and gone, or locked up, or run off, whatever you decided to do with him.

The quest system gave me a feeling that I changed the game world, which is cool and a major plus.

Character Interactions:  Two words.  VOICE ACTING!  I am so glad the future is here and I don’t have to read some ass-hat of an NPCS life story, just to get to the part where he asks if I can go get him a box of nails at Home Depot.(Yeah I kinda hate MMO quests.)  Voice Acting also does succeed in bringing another level of immersion to the experience, one that I liked.

Items/Gear:  As Shit Different Game.  Bunch of useless items that you can sell for money,  off set by a 2% chance you might get something way better than you have, or any of the vendor’s sell.  My main issues here?

1) If the NPCs in town are carrying around armloads of advanced military hardware, and don’t care that I have a blaster strapped to my side, I want the black market contact I can buy their guns from.

2) The gear the vendors in town sell SHOULD BE BETTER, than the shit you start the game with!  I know the point, it encourages me to go fight for better stuff, but I am gonna do that anyway!  Give the vendors the good shit and then make it stupid expensive!

3)Useless junk, never seems useless.  If my character truly reflected myself, my abilities, and my aptitude(or stupid curiosity) for creating and crafting, I could take all the “sellable only” crap I got during a quest and build and f*cking star port!  Crafting needs to be fixed in MMOs..

Leveling Up: Eh, fight some dudes, get a some sparkles, get better stats to fight stronger dudes that LOOK THE SAME.  Rinse/Repeat.  Look I like it in some games, I really do.  The sense of accomplishment, unlocking new content, seeing new things, finding new enemies!  It’s exciting!  But an MMO is designed to keep you interested for weeks and months worth of play time, not the 6-8 hours of a standard video game.

That means you get to fight the same guy, with a different gun, or different colored name, ABOUT 500 TIMES!  This is not fun.

Graphics:  If this is the first generation of next generation MMOs Graphically Speaking, it fails.  Sure there are more polys, sure there is more lighting effects, sure the GUI is crisper, but it looks like WoW with a Star Wars twist.  The Animations are a bit better too, and the facial stuff is cool, but it doesn’t look like BF3, it looks like WoW.

Overall:  7/10.  To be fair it is still in Beta, and it was fun, I might even be tempted to buy it and play.  But first impressions?  Its World of Warcraft.  Whatever love and joy I had for MMOs has been killed by WoW, or maybe I have just grown up enough to realize that I don’t have hours a day to commit to a new MMO.  Because lets face it, any time I would spend playing ST:ToR, would be time I could have spent playing MINECRAFT 🙂


Crashing that Castle!

I have been toying with the idea of buying Castle Crasher‘s for the last few months.  The reviews were great, the game looked fun, and the toys(Models) are awesome!  I happened upon the Behemoth booth this year at PAX and picked up the Pink Knight, the Blue Knight and the game token for XBox Live.

Castle CrashersNow normally I would have rushed home, installed the game and played it right then!  But it was Sunday, we had a 3 hour flight ahead of us, and when I got back to San Diego there was a little pile of things that needed doing…  So I finally got it installed last night!

This was a baaaad idea… Not only has it been very hot in Southern California(We don’t have AC so when it is 85 outside all night, it is 85 inside all night), but I threw in one of the most entertaining games I have played in awhile onto our reasons not to get good sleep!  Myself and my fiance played for a good 3 hours!

This is simply one of the most exciting and entertaining games I have played in awhile, and it is an Xbox Arcade title!  The graphics are fun, everything has a painted feel to it, it’s smooth and the details are amazing even if a bit childish.  The side-scrolling hack and slash is fast paced and your enemies drop either coins or food, and as the game says Share your food, but not your money!  The leveling system allows you to customize your little dude “just” enough for the play style, and the humor built into the game just keeps getting better!

Of course, the fact that my fiance is playing a Pink Knight, who bashes things over the head with a lolly-pop, shoots rainbow heart arrows, and uses a magical rainbow as an attack sums up a good chunk of the humor right there.  Then there is a level where the background critters shit themselves to get away faster… I mean this is the game I wanted when I was ten!  Thankfully Behemoth got around to making it 18 years later 🙂

Castle Crashers, BehemothFrom a mechanics stand-point it is fairly simple.  Smash, Heavy Smash, Ranged Smash, Smash it with Magic, and Jump are your options to attack.  You also have a shield to block with and alternating your attacks allows you yo do some pretty cool combos.  As mentioned earlier there is an experience bar, and the ability to customize your little dude on Strength, Magic, Defense, and Agility.  There are a number of one time use items like healing potions, and bombs.  You get a shield to block most attacks, and everything drops loot!

Of course LOOT is not split, so you get to scramble to steal it before those you are playing with can!  I may have come “late to the game” with picking this title up but it is worth it!  If you have been on the fence or just need a good quick title this may be the one for you!