Posted by aurahack (2506 posts) -

Well well well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? So much for trying to keep a proper schedule. School’s been frighteningly busy but that’s something I’d rather talk about later. For now, I actually have games to talk about!

The first is something I wanted to get around to last blog, which is Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. I beat it the night I posted the blog and man, what an ending that game has. Plot twist after plot twist, insane reveal after insane reveal. The end of 999 is some bizarre-ass rollercoaster that refused to let me close the slack-jawed expression I kept for hours both during the ending and after. Additionally, the cast of characters hide interesting backstories and complex personalities behind some admittedly stereotypical design. The way their stories intertwine is well-thought out and the overall plot hides a secret that still sticks in the back of my mind as one of the more memorable stories I’ve played through in years. Some of the reveals at the end of that game, one in particular that involves the DS hardware itself, are so clever and so baffling that I have a really hard time not loving everything about that game. I’m eager to start playing Virtue’s Last Reward, if only to more about the universe the first game sets up. As far as virtual novels go, 999 is easily my favorite. Few games make me want to lock myself up in a room or message board and just endlessly talk about everything in it.

Dat intro cinematic. MADHOUSE did a pretty legit job with the cinematic stuff in Awakening.

The second thing I’ve put a bunch of time into is what’s acting as my in-between before I jump into VLR-- Fire Emblem: Awakening. After a three week-long search, I was able to secure myself a physical copy thanks to a friend of mine who works at Gamestop. Amusingly enough, he let me know he had a copy left a few minutes after I had another retail store email me to tell me they had a copy of the game set aside for me. I got my copy at Gamestop but went on a long adventure/walk with a friend to the other store, that was significantly more out of the way than I thought, so she could also have a copy for herself. … At any rate, I really, really like Fire Emblem. It’s not exactly surprising the socks off of me or anything but it’s an extremely good SRPG. I’ve been meaning to scratch that itch for a long time now and this is doing that job wonderfully. The in-combat mechanics are fun, inventory management is neat, and the character recruiting/team building/team organising stuff keeps me a lot busier than I’d of thought. I can’t say the story is exactly captivating or anything (so far, I’ve just completed Chapter 10) but the gameplay is keeping me going, as are the Paralogues.

I’ve been killing time with some other stuff when school hasn’t kept me super busy, too. I got Crashmo which is adorable and fun. (And surprisingly hard past the halfway point) I’ve also been dabbling in Black Ops II here in there when I can, mostly trying out new loadouts and tactics. I used the QBB LSW for a good stretch to find that I really, really like that gun. Right now I’ve been playing a Tac-45-only class, which has also proven to be pretty fun. And funny. People seem pretty irked when you finish 40-10 in a Demolition match when only using a pistol.

This giant time sink is, finally, done.

So, games aside, why have I missed so much blogging time? School, man. School. I’m on study break right now until Monday and while not having to wake up at 6 every morning is a welcome change, I’ve still been doing schoolwork and other nonsense that’s been keeping me from completely de-stressing. For the last two weeks, I’ve been tirelessly working both here and at school to finish the panoply of projects that were due. I had a 44-page children’s book to finish, a giant poster for Seoul Fashion Week to fix and finish, a bunch of armored police concepts to make for Concepting class, bookstore banners to design, a magazine layout to design and finish (both cover and inner-spread), along a bunch of other shit. The children’s book nearly killed me as it forced me to stay at school for close to ten hours straight and the fashion week project was no easy breeze, either. What’s been stressing me the fuck out, though, is my animation project.

The Dean of Education (I think that’s his position, at least) is going to give a speech at some thingamabob about how our school, Dawson College, plans to educate kids properly and blah blah. The speech is a little boring, so he’s asked us, the Illustration and Design program, to create a short animation that would accompany his speech to make it a bit more captivating. Since we’d be pooling both of our program’s third year groups, (For a total of 30-something students) we’d all have to find one style for the animation and have everyone stick with that. As such, our animation teacher made each of us create a bunch of designs for the characters, objects, and scenes in the animation. He’d then take all of them, go over them with the class, and the designs and style we’d like best is the one we’d pick and animate. I was nothing short of thrilled and honored and terrified to have my designs picked as the winner.

My designs for the animation project.

Alongside having to animate one of the harder scenes, (that I admittedly volunteered for) I also had to create a bunch of character sheets and respond to a bunch of design questions all at the same time. It’s unspeakably humbling to be in the position I’m in but at the same time, it’s made me work my brain and my patience for my own art to a really dangerous point. Everything I make, everything I draw, everything I think and say about the project has to be made so that it’s not just for me to draw, but so that everyone else can draw it, too. It can’t be too difficult to draw. I need to draw multiple things in multiple ways because they can’t guess what I’m thinking that hidden part would look like. It’s having a whole mess of people watch over my shoulders while I draw. And that’s not counting the expectations I have to make everything as nice and appealing as possible for the final look of the animation. It’s an important project that means a lot to the program and the Dean; I can’t fuck it up. Not that he hasn't been supportive since or anything either, but I suppose having the teacher, when the design was chosen, say: “Aw, I was really hoping [other person]’s drawings would win.” is little fuel for motivation and confidence, too. Things like that have made me second-guess every stroke I make when I draw for the past two weeks on this project...

FISTS. What better image to put than Donnie Yen from Ip Man, a movie centered around the grandmaster of the art itself. You should watch it. It's an excellent movie.

On a brighter note, though, I took up something over the past few weeks that’s been doing me a lot of good and I’ve started to find a really fond appreciation for. As per a requirement for a class, I started taking Kung Fu lessons. I’m four weeks in now and I’ve all but forgotten about the requirement. I’ve been going purely out of interest and love for it. I’ve been practicing Wing Chun, a discipline that is centered entirely around the human body and efficiency. Every movement, every stance, and every action is all based on what is the most efficient way of completing that action. It’s absolutely fascinating to both study and practice. I encourage you to read up about it. It has a pretty interesting history, too. Plus, it was the discipline Bruce Lee used. What have you got to lose? NOTHING. That’s what.

That’ll wrap it up for this week. I hope to have something up next week. We’re starting a bunch of projects so the work load will be minimal, hopefully. Who knows. This program keeps surprising me in the worst way possible. I can’t wait to be done and get out there working, doin’ neat art and stuff.


#1 Edited by Little_Socrates (5834 posts) -

Oh, man, I love the designs for that Dean's animation! That mess hall design makes me smile.

The Seoul Fashion Week poster also looks like an intense piece of work. I really like the triangle-focused design, and the color palette is awesome.

And congrats on studying Wing Chun! One thing I'd like to do if I get back in shape is to study kung fu.

(Unfortunately, I haven't played any of the games you've been playing.)


#2 Posted by Daveyo520 (7386 posts) -

Fire Emblem is definitely the first game I will get for my 3DS. It is really the reason I got one.

#3 Edited by aurahack (2506 posts) -

@little_socrates: CEEEEEEEEELEBRATE (Good catch!)

Thank you for both those comments. c': That Fashion Week poster was a killer, yeah. The character, modeled after my stupid obsession, took a good 10-15 hours to sketch, line, and color. The rest of it must have taken a similar amount of time since my teacher had more revisions to "suggest" than there are stars in the sky.

You should totally take up kung fu if you want to, though! I was horribly out of shape (see: winded after a flight of stairs) but it's done wonders to me in such a short amount of time. I feel super energized when I leave from it instead of being strained and exhausted. I can't speak for other disciplines, but Wing Chun is far more of a mental workout than it is a physical workout. You spend your time focusing on what you are doing far more than actually doing anything altogether. Understanding what you need to be doing to execute it in the most direct and efficient way possible is what will strain you more than throwing punches will.

Which is good, because you'll probably throw close to 1500-2000 punches per 1 1/2 hour session in Wing Chun. :'D Seriously. I've counted.

@daveyo520: Certainly a good reason to. Get Crashmo, also! Fun little game, especially for like... $8 or however much it is.

#4 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -

Yes, those twists were insane, but not in a good way. Like that Q thing. Even knowing Japanese, I found it really dumb.

#5 Posted by aurahack (2506 posts) -

@video_game_king: I dunno, I thought it was a pretty clever way of tying the hex code stuff. I could see why one wouldn't appreciate the way that story goes, (A friend of mine didn't like it so much due to its reliance on heavy sci-fi like stuff) but I loved it.

#6 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -

@aurahack said:

@video_game_king: I dunno, I thought it was a pretty clever way of tying the hex code stuff.

Even though Zero said the word nine, thus negating any sort of reasoning he may employ (that door was a 9 not two seconds ago)?

#7 Edited by aurahack (2506 posts) -

@video_game_king:I think that's when the "kyu/q" thing ends up working better but I don't know. I feel like by the time everyone has reached the boiler room, everyone has obviously understood that the numbered doors/escaping is not what the nonary game is about and Zero would know they'd come to that conclusion. The 'q' ends up being more of a puzzle for them to actually leave after accomplishing their goal other than it just being part of the numbered doors thing.

#8 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -


No, I mean that doesn't change the fact that the door changes values for the sake of a superfluous plot twist. (Add up the other party's numbers, because there's no way that shit's gonna equal Q.)

#9 Edited by aurahack (2506 posts) -

@video_game_king: That's what I meant, though. By that point, the doors did kind of lose their meaning. I think that Zero would know/knew that Ace would attempt and escape with a 9 digital root and she had to change the value of that door accordingly. To use the hex system, which subsequently changes it to an addition thing, is a little jarring but probably necessary.

#10 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -


I was going to say that he escapes, but I had to look it up again because I didn't remember entirely. Turns out Santa and Ace go through the door on their own, despite this making absolutely no sense. AND WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO JUNE!? The game's prompting me to ask so many questions, but not in a good way.

#11 Posted by aurahack (2506 posts) -
#12 Edited by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -


No, I didn't, mainly because:

  1. I didn't know it existed.
  2. It's the developer's responsibility to put the answers to such large questions in the game itself, not my responsibility to seek out said answers when the game throws up such large questions.

*reads it* Damn it. They did plan for a sequel. That neverworks out, you guys. And #56 asks me to ignore a plot hole! *breaks down into laughter*

#13 Edited by thatpinguino (2126 posts) -

@aurahack: Those designs look dope I hope your animation project goes well. I'm sure it sucks now but the experience of leading a team will look great on a resume and will really help on future projects. I never really thought about having to create in such a way that other people can mimic my creation, but it does not sound easy at all.

#14 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

I'm totally jacking your Seoul Fashion Week poster for potential future background purposes. Great work!

#15 Posted by aurahack (2506 posts) -

@video_game_king: Ehhh I dunno. I think most of what he talks about was answered, if not more generally hinted at. It really comes down to personal opinion, I suppose. I know I liked the ending a whole lot.

@thatpinguino: Thank you. c: The prospect of having it as a bullet point on my CV is why I've tried to stay headstrong throughout. All our animations were handed in a few days ago, so now it's just a wait for the finished product.

I can't speak on what it's like to draw like someone else would, but the rest of class seemed to abhor it. I got a lot of pretty snappy comments about character design and stuff directed at me, though I chalked most of that up to frustration over animating in such a short amount of time... According to my animation teacher, Disney artists will get a giant batch document that contains character sheets and such for an upcoming projects. Those are all drawn by the project's art director, and all of the artists need to trace and practice drawing everything in the documents for around 6 months. That way, they learn how to draw in that art style for the movie they're working on. It sounds pretty brutal.

#16 Posted by TruthTellah (9665 posts) -

@aurahack: Well done! I really enjoy your designs for the Dean, and the Seoul Fashion Week poster is quite cute.

And you have a good attitude about the project. Your hardwork is fantastic preparation for professional practices. Even the concern and frustration you're feeling is normal; just the stresses of having responsibility and working with a team that really relies on your skills. I look forward to seeing the result of it all. :)

#17 Posted by thatpinguino (2126 posts) -

@aurahack: Yeah that sounds like hell for a creative person, "great so you can draw, now draw like Steven for the next 2 years while we crank out this movie." Though I suppose one could embrace the freedom that they have within those inherent constraints and try to make their own mark while staying in the established style.

#18 Edited by aurahack (2506 posts) -

@truthtellah: We just got the result in our emails! I don't think I can post it (it's extremely low quality and there's still scene annotations all over it) but the finished thing is... it's pretty special. At least, it is to me, considering everything is from my designs. :') Thank you, too. I've done my best to keep a good attitude throughout and it seems to have payed off. The teachers are pleased with the final result.

@thatpinguino: You'd think that, but putting in your little mark will throw the entire bandwagon off. I think that comes more in the form of like, easter eggs. (like stuff written on walls/signs or whatever) If they don't stick to the designs as strict as possible, they can sure as shit find some animators willing to work for Disney that will.

#19 Edited by Humanity (11997 posts) -

@aurahack: animation seems like such an unforgiving field. I've always leaned more towards comics simply because I felt that animating would make me hate the design by the end of the project. I'm a very impatient artist and like to finish something and move on. To stick to the same concept and repeat it ad nauseum through hundreds of frames seems like torture.

#20 Posted by aurahack (2506 posts) -

@humanity: If you hate repetition then yeah, animation is probably not for you. I can't say I'm entirely fond of animating things all hand-drawn like, but I found a tremendous amount of fun in doing cut-out animation. It saves a TON of time and, with a bit of clean up, can offer some really stunning results. Instead of drawing each frame by hand, you draw a model, split it into parts, and keyframe those parts into position along your timeline. It's how I did this!

Loading Video...

It is pretty unforgiving, though. Like anything, you settle into the motions of it but doing it as a straight job day-in, day-out sounds... tough. I don't know if I could do something where my only task is to animate.

#21 Posted by Humanity (11997 posts) -

@aurahack: animating a T-ara song and NOT choosing either Hyomin or Jiyeon? Criminal..

#22 Edited by aurahack (2506 posts) -

@humanity: Ain't no one gonna prevent me from unleashing more Eunjung into this world.

#23 Edited by JZ (2343 posts) -

I came for the yoko, but left for the lack of yoko.

#24 Edited by Paindamnation (840 posts) -

The only thing relevant in this article is Donnie Yen That is all.

#25 Posted by Halberdierv2 (1988 posts) -

Hey Aura, it's been a while. are you gonna get Luigi's Mansion?

#26 Posted by aurahack (2506 posts) -

@jz: Oh no~

@paindamnation: Donnie Yen is pretty great, even if Ip Man was my first exposure to him.

@halberdierv2: Probably yeah, but not any time soon. No money for it. :(