Friday, February 26, 2010

White Knight Chronicles - where was the beta testing?

I took a break from doing anything art-related last night, and instead spent a bunch of time playing White Knight Chronicles: International Edition (by Level 5 and Sony).

The game definitely has its flaws with the plot line, which makes me yell at the TV screen every hour or so for a good five to ten minutes per plot hole/cliche/super-fast exposition.  However, I usually just give it the MST3K treatment and move on.  I can accept bad and/or cheesy plotlines if the game play is good.  The voice acting is... uneven, but not cringe-inducing. Also, I love the random comments that are made by everyone when I'm running around a town/dungeon/battle/whatever.

The technical glitches that I've run into, however, make me want to cut someone.

Being limited by range when it comes to my attacks, but the enemy being able to hit me no matter where they are on the map?  Aggravating, but at least I knew about that one ahead of time, so I planned accordingly.

Having to run around and wait a few minutes to target an NPC to talk to them?  Time consuming, but not game breaking... unless it's an NPC in a timed quest.  Then panic starts to set in, and anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour of work can be shot to hell.

Having to run around and enter/exit game menus to try and get an NPC to become visible, as there's nothing except a floating nameplate in the air?  Not cool, especially if it's an NPC for the above-mentioned timed quest.

Having the controls lock up in the middle of a boss battle, where your only option is to hit the Triangle button to send a text to an online friend (if available and in-game), or R1 to defend?  Kind of game breaking for me. I couldn't even hit Select to try and change who I was controlling.  The only way to do anything was to RESET the game, and reload from my latest save.

Talking to an NPC and having their conversation text stop in the middle of a sentence (I made up an example to avoid spoilers: "Oh, hello, strange adventu")?  And they repeat that every single time you talk to them? I sure hope they don't have anything important to tell me, or I'm screwed.

Don't get me wrong - I like the combat a lot, when it's working (it reminds me of Final Fantasy XII, which I loved), the huge maps are gorgeous (and did I mention huge?), the character models are nice (if cartoony, and a little dated looking), and like I said - the plot doesn't bug me all that much (gives me fodder for mockage, if nothing else). 

Some of the glitches, though, make me want to just put the game down and never come back. Seeing as how I pre-ordered White Knight Chronicles, I'm pretty disappointed.  This game has been out for a while in Japan - why couldn't they tighten up the controls and the NPC appearance/disappearance issues, at least, before releasing it here?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First impressions of Sketchbook Pro 2010

I've been kicking around the idea of trying Sketchbook Pro 2010 for a while.  I even downloaded the trial for my Macbook, which I almost never use (except to play WoW at a friend's house every once in a while).  I was trying to use it on the Macbook, but with the small screen (13.3" or whatever vs my 19" desktop monitor) and my small Intuos3 tablet (lolwat), it felt clumsy to me.

Also, I didn't bother to read anything about how to use it.

In the end, I defaulted to CS3 on both machines.

Fast forward to now - I have a new tablet, dual monitors, and I'm still learning/re-learning how to use digital media again.  I'm looking for a program that I can sketch in, without having to mess with the brush settings in Photoshop (I'm sure it's not that hard, but I'm impatient, dammit!).  So I'm reading up, and lo, Sketchbook Pro 2010 crosses my path again!

It's roughly $100 USD, though, and I'm trying to tighten ye old money pouch again.  I figured I'd download the 15 day trial and see if it I like it enough - if so, I'd buy it when I get my next paycheck.


Yeah, after messing with it for an hour, I'm ready to put the money down right now.

I didn't sketch anything freehand in it yet, just did a rough "ink" on a study I did at lunch today (I grabbed some dude's picture off the internet in between manual editing).  Here's the progression from scan to "finished product":




It's not the best thing EVER, but it was a lot easier to work in Sketchbook Pro 2010 than in Photoshop.  It runs light, it's easy to use (I had no problem setting up the straight edge tool!), I love the little tool lagoon... Yeah.

I'll try to use it for various things besides just "inking," just to make sure I still want to buy it at the end of the trial period, but so far I'm sold.

Monday, February 22, 2010

argh pt 2



Here's take 2 for my Commander Shepard pic from a few days ago.  This was done after I spent over a half hour wondering why my new Wacom wasn't working properly (turns out it was because I had two installed on here.  Whoops).  I was finally able to work on this after uninstalling the old drivers, restarting, installed "critical updates," installed the new drivers, and restarted.  YES.

My digital ink skills are still rusty, so I just did ye olde "Multiply Layer!" method, with a bit of overlay.  Really, I just wanted to try out my new tablet.  I think I"ll try to push this a bit further, but we'll see.  I'd probably be better off making a nice clean pencil sketch and going from there, or starting with forms and values.

Right, so I guess it's time for bed?  It is 11:30pm right now, and my contacts are buggin' me something fierce.

Friday, February 12, 2010


So I slept on it, and I think I'll try printing out the pencils for Shepard on paper, clean them up/ink them, and rescan.  It's really bugging me... I'm half tempted to do the corrective stuff at work (I have GIMP on my machine here), and use my liners to ink it during lunch.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


Ok, so next time I do something I want to color, I should probably draw it out on white paper, and make sure my lines are crisp and clean.

Clearly, I drew this in my moleskine, all sloppy like, and digitally inked it in like a half hour.  Garbage in, garbage out, right?

Lines are too thick, but I haven't done this in a while.  So next I throw down some color:

At this point I realize that the color makes Shepard's outfit look like Asuka Langley's plug suit (or wtfever it's called).  Doh!  Hopefully I can change it up a bit later on.

Still, felt like posting... showing some back-asswards progress.  I'm also working on a luchadora for the Chicagoland Street Fighter/King of Fighters RPG I'm playing in, but it's in the rough stages.

And now it's time for some more cream cheese frosting, and then to bed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Influx of study doodles, Dragon Age fanart doodles, and Mass Effect 2 fanart doodles

I'm doing real good on this daily or almost-daily drawing and updating thing (not).  Anyway, here are a few sketches I did in my new moleskine... as the title says, it's mostly doodles (and mostly Mass Effect related, at that).

(oh wait, this one has my half-orc and our party's half-elf rogue from my D&D/Pathfinder campaign; the right-hand side is more Mass Effect stuff)

That's pretty much it for now... I'm making this post while waiting in the LFG queue for World of Warcraft.  I wanted to get some coloring in, but my head is killing me :/