Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Meet Orn

He's just your typical dwarf with a serious sugar addiction, a missing hand, and a tendency to tell lies so outlandish even he doesn't believe them:
Drawn and sweatered by Vanity Games.
You can read all about Orn in the first Dwarves in Space book (and two, and two and a half, and three, and okay, he's in all of them).

First in the Dwarves in Space Series:

A missing assassin, a broken ship, an enraged knight, a kidnapped government official, and her biggest secret about to unravel; Variel’s day keeps getting better and better. Dwarves in Space is Tolkien merged with Hitchhiker’s and Firefly in a horrific transporter accident.


Available Here:


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Make your own Metal Box [EMPTY] from Fallout

After fighting off a horde of super mutants, getting lost three times in the damn metro, and breaking two bobby pins off in the lock, you finally get into the door only to find rows and rows of metal boxes [EMPTY]. AAAHHH!
The emblem on the wall does little to comfort your lack of loot:

Want to make your own Fallout themed metal box or little Washington DC emblem? It's pretty easy and cheap.

You'll need:
  • Metal Box (Michaels $3.99 or wherever metal boxes are sold)
  • Wooden DC Emblem (Michaels $0.99)
  • Black Acrylic Paint
  • Brown Acrylic Paint
  • Green Glossy Acrylic Paint
  • Glow in the Dark Paint
  • Cardstock
This is what I started with:

The box needs some serious aging for that post apocalyptic look. After so much halloween work, I've gotten pretty good at making new stuff look ancient and full of tetanus.

Just dab your wet sponge into some black and brown paint. Mash it all over the surface, then dot it back off with your second wet sponge. Keep it up until you like the level of filth. If it's too much, apply some water to remove and add paint again.

I cannot freehand fonts to save my life so I made a stencil. First, I downloaded the free font Monofonto - and used photoshop to get the sizing and layout right. After that it was slow, laborious work of sneaking up on...I mean chopping out letters with my exacto knife. It's as exciting as one would expect.

Got your stencil? Scotch tape it to your hopefully dried box and get to painting. I used a radioactive color previously reserved for my Cthulhu Barbie. It's shiny as well as neon green. You can go orange if you'd like - weirdo.

I added a few layers, then removed the stencil and had to mop up the damage. Then I went back around the letters with a darker green to outline it and draw them out. If your box is dark enough you might not need to do that.
Exciting stuff, but most of Fallout is spent in the barely there light requiring blackout curtains to cut the glare. Here comes the glow in the dark paint. To get a good glow, you need at least two coats, maybe three. It will look white when you first add it and that's generally okay as it'll dry mostly clear. It will whiten your green a bit, but it's worth it for an eerie glow:

The emblem is a bit trickier, but only required the black paint and a cup of water.

To age it, I used an alternating series of wetting the brush, dabbing on some paint, then smooshing it through the wood with more water. It gives the ancient, probably flooded look. While the wood was still partially wet, I painted in the recessed details with the black. Straight on flat black is too harsh and cartoon looking. If you add too much, just go back over with the water.

When in doubt, smooth over the edges with water. Just dip in some black, dip in some water, and mush it all around the decal. Age doesn't come in a fancy pattern, let your imagination go wild.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my 200 year old DC emblem, but my metal box is holding all my jet and psycho until I can sell it for more ammo.
 Get out there and make your own Fallout box, contents optional.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sony - E3


Here's a summation of all the games Sony showcased and lots of pictures. If you want to read ALL the conferences on Day One head over here.

The Last Guardian - Sony came out swinging for the fences and much like Kratos, descended to developmental hell to yank The Last Guardian from its clutches. Something about pomegranates.

That's right. From the makers of Shadows of Colossus supposedly come the game that didn't just fall through the cracks but slip into another dimension. It's supposed to come out in 2016, but...we'll wait and see.

Still, it was so nice to see a game that wasn't a FPS, wasn't gritty urban landscape, and didn't use Frostbite, the griffin chihuahua's whining not withstanding.


Horizon: Zero Dawn - Speaking of something different, this game is pseudo native american people (okay) fight techno dinosaurs (all right) in a distant post apocalyptic future (what the hell?).

Apparently, humanity once again did something so bad most of them got banished. Instead of going Fallout massive desert, greenery returned to the cities. But this is still post apocalyptic and humans are at the bottom of the food chain.

The top? Dinosaurs made out of the various bits of technology left lying around. There were some flashlight raptors and a T-rex like monster make out of cars.
It's stone age hunting with transformers. Not sure why once again only white people survived the apocalypse and promptly cos-played as cave men but after a very similar landscape this was a refreshing change.

Also, you can play as a woman! I feel like that should be noted in extra large letters that shift colors. Normally, games and their marketing machines do all they can to downplay the female option. Unless it's Lara Croft or Bayonette, all you see is the male form doing the shooting, the scrounging, the exploring, and maybe they'll mention "Oh and you can be female" in passing. 

But something's been different this year. Dishonored only used Emily - which was also part of the punch, and it may have taken until the last conference of the day but we finally got to see Evie Frye in action. Oh god, have the SJWs won? Do game companies have to finally admit that women exist? It's the end times! Everyone grab your sharpened stick and stab a BestBuyasaurus! AH!


Hitman - Ah, now we're back to the familiar. Agent 47 is back and ready to shoot a lot more people by twisting his gun to the side so it looks cool. We were promised exotic locations because I think this is really a Bond film.
If you pre-order through Playstation you can Beta test it. So, after you commit to buying the game then you can test it to see if you like it. That makes...what? But I'll take beta test exclusives over timed ones. Timed ones are just a really good way to piss people off who didn't own your system and are now so mad at you they never will.


Street Fighter 5 There's a street fighter game coming. I'd say more about it, but they didn't. Street fighter!
Another exclusive beta coming July 23rd.

Street fighter, but with a V this time!

No Man's Sky - Playstation jumped all feet in with a couple sandbox games. The first combines the excitement of space battles with the tedium of research documentation.
Giant, intergalactic battles!

Tiny fish on undiscovered planets that don't count as alien life for some reason.

Our presenter wowed the audience by zooming out of his map and condescendingly explaining that every point of light is a star and orbiting around that star is a bunch of planets. SCIENCE! There are a gazillion unexplored worlds that you can drop down on, shoot some rocks, have a few angry robots attack you, walk backwards into a lake, and drop off research notes on. I'm also pretty sure nugs were on that planet he wandered into, so maybe it was also post apocalyptic Thedas.


Dreams - From Little Big Planet comes a toy for those creative builders that can both wow and make people feel incredibly inadequate. Our presenter yammered on about dreams and sharing them but that's not important. Here's what makes Dreams cool.

On screen, he drew legs and a form, added a head and a face to this old man.
I love beard face. Beard face is the best.

Okay, kinda fun. But then he touched the old man's nose and the eyes opened and his body followed, in puppet animation moves.

Our old man played a piano in a dream scape world, while a crow watched on. Two polar bears tumbled down the snow, a teddy bear fought against zombie - all things someone created in Dreams. And because sharing is caring, the worlds are intermingled across the network. Anyone can drop in and alter or add to your dream.

In other words, give it five minutes after launch to have a forest of animated dicks swaying in the breeze.


Firewatch - Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) voices a lone park ranger whose only friend is a voice inside his walkie-talkie. He wanders around the park doing parky things, when stuff starts to go bad.
A couple girls go missing, someone cuts the com lines, and there's another person poking around in his tower. Smokey's gone feral and only our plucky Park Ranger can stop him. Okay, I made that last part up. But just watch, it'll turn out to have been Smokey on the walkie talkie the whole time.


Destiny: The Taken King - You were expecting a Sony conference without any mention of Destiny? Ha. In true DLC fashion, the trailer was only for people who played Destiny. You killed his son with his own sword, now his dad's coming for you. You got his attention now go get his head.
 Yeah, yeah, revenge is nice and all, but what's the new loot like?


Assassin's Creed: Syndicate - I wasn't going to talk about AC again because they still didn't show any gameplay *cough*bugs*cough* but then Evie Frye wandered in and I couldn't not.
 Much like Commander Shepard, the female Frye looks far more interesting than the male one. She isn't being all cockney accent trying to start her own Gangs of London (in fact, she's not allowed to talk at all. Instead her annoying brother narrates the entire time).

This does raise a few, shall we say, indelicate questions about how the story will be presented. The animus is supposedly based upon genetic memory (I know, don't think about the science). And if you can play as either twin then...yeah, just don't think about it.
You've mostly lost me AC, but maybe maybe with Evie I'll come back. 


World of Final Fantasy -  Sony's trying to out cute Nintendo with adorable weebles from Final Fantasy (weebles wobble but they don't fall down). You can either shrink down and ride on monsters, or get bigger and have the monsters ride on you.
I'm pretty sure you'll just run around squeeing to death from all the cute.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake - This was the real Final Fantasy news you were hoping for and yes, it's true.  They're remastering Final Fantasy 7 for the PS4. 

Go forth and squee!


Shenmue 3 - The theme for this conference seemed to be "reviving from the dead." After pulling the Last Guardian out of mothballs, and remastering Final Fantasy 7, Sony heard about a kickstarter campaign and then broke the internet.
 If you want to contribute to Shenmue, here's the link to the kickstarter.


Batman: Arkham Knight - For no good reason, they played a trailer for the coming Batman game. And by coming I mean in a week. 

Despite the Joker being dead and cremated they still can't not show him. Look, the Joker's our only real villain. 
 Even when you think it's the Scarecrow, even when Scarecrow thinks he's the mastermind, it'll really be the Joker. You can bet on it. That guy's like the roadrunner. He never goes down.

Playstation Morpheus & Vue - Sorry guys, but when it came to the VR stuff Microsoft trounced you. I know, you gave it your all. The set up was really fancy in your conference hall. But seeing game footage played across six screens is nothing to a 3D Minecraft game.

Still, your Vue (despite the incredibly stupid name) looks promising. Finally someone is trying to get tv ala carte. It probably won't work thanks to the Timewarner Pinkertons breaking into your house to smash your controllers, but it's a nice idea.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 - Ah! There's the first person shooter. I was starting to get worried with all these RPGs and dreamy sandboxes. How can we not have a black ops fps? You were laying it on a little thick acting like this was the most unique game of all time though. I think we all picked up on the sarcasm.
Because showing game footage of a campaign isn't enough, they also had to show the multi-player experience which was different, apparently. 

Once again Playstation gets some early beta access and free maps. They're chasing after Activision to get more exclusives because that's the new game. Sigh. Can Sony and Microsoft just angry bang already to get over this tension?
"I'm a leaf on the wind."


Infinity -  Surprising no one, Star Wars is joining the Infinity game. You can play The Twilight of the Republic if you like the prequels (you sad sad person), or Rise Against the Empire.

Creepy Solo available where all creepy, soulless toys are sold.

Once again, Playstation gets Rise Against the Empire and Boba Fett a month early. (Can we talk about Boba Fett here? Why is he so popular? He did nothing. All he managed was hiding in garbage, glommed onto Vader, and then got his ass swallowed by a sand vagina. I will never understand why he's so popular.)


Star Wars: Battlefront -  You thought we wouldn't see more Star Wars? You silly person. My notes for this are "Luke Skywater Fly ariund shoot oeioke" I may have been suffering from a serious burnout at that point.

Again, you can be good, evil, neutral, chaotic, a gonk droid. And the entire time the force ghost of Admiral Ackbar orders you around.
The empire is amassing behind you. That's a trap! And when you're done could you swing by starbucks and get me a frap? Thanks.

 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End - Here we are at the end of a very long day. You can tell everyone just wants to crawl back into their hotel room as the preview screen holds blank. For a brief moment I think the final game is actually called Only on Playstation, the Only on Playstation game.

But then a temple appears and we watch Nathan Drake wander around for a bit, then he gets trapped in the corner watching a couple guys grind corn. I was expecting someone to press the PS4 button and reboot the whole system. Bugs happen, but bugs in your pre-recorded promo has to be a very ominous sign, or a sign we all need to find a bed and pass out.

Eventually, after flipping the screen on and off a few times, our trailer boots up.
And Drake drives around nondescript somewhere South America pissing off every person who sees him. Pretty sure he does enough collateral damage, another three small wars broke out just to cover for it. Great going, Nate.

And that's the end of E3 Day 0. We saw some RPGs, some female characters, Angela Basset (for some reason), and a post apocalyptic dinosaur made out of old computers.

Sweet Dreams

EA - E3


Here's a summation of all the games EA showcased and lots of pictures. If you want to read ALL the conferences on Day One head over here.

Mass Effect - Let's get down to business. ME 4 Andromeda!

I don't care that it used Johnny Cash and Ghost Riders In The Sky (FYI, I like that song and Johnny Cash so :P). I don't care that it was all action which, surprise surprise, a teaser trailer would be. I don't care that our unknown not protagonist armor looks kinda stupid.
It's freaking Mass Effect! It's Asari, and Turians, and Krogan, and that N7.
And that's all we know, and that's all I'll need....for now.

Need for Speed - Haven't seen enough cars driving around in circles? Well don't worry, we've got a ton more to go. A ton. This is the first of numerous mentions of Frostbite, the engine EA's forcing all their games to use. It's a nice engine but it's starting to make all the games look so similar. When I first watched the footage for Star Wars Battlefront it reminded me of ME3 and DA. The people, the landscapes, it's all getting a factory look which cannot bode well.

Anyway, to the cars. 
They go around, but not in circles. These are street cars, where you drive around on the roads endangering pedestrians and annoying the cops with your sweet street gang moves, Thuderbirds style.

It's open world (as everything is anymore) with changing light from dusk to dawn. There are five overlapping stories that follow five brothers (of course, girls can't drive. Their boobs get in the way). It's Pride and Prejudice but the Bennet's have boys instead of girls and rather than marry them off, they steal cars and drive up fines. They'd have been better off having girls.

Need for Speed drops November 3rd.


Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire - Colon colon colon. Bioware's releasing a new expansion to get people back into SW:TOR. They promised to bring back the bioware story telling that people love.
Based upon the trailer you're either the white kid in black or the white kid in white who train to one day kill or not kill their father. In a twist, the good one is the kid in black. It causes less stains and he cares about his launderer.

They're promising new companions, more story, and lots of choices. Since it's Bioware, they're probably not blowing smoke about it.

This free expansion drops October 27th.


Unravel -  This is adorable. There's not another word beyond adorable. The presenter was so ecstatic to be at E3 his fingers shook as he pulled out his little yarn doll to show off.
Your kitty is made out of yarn, and as you travel the yarn unravels. It's supposed to represent love or something, all I saw was a much less trippy Little Big Planet. It's physics based puzzle solving including scary rodents, making a kite out of a leaf, evil birds, dragging a lantern through the snow, and water skiing behind a fish. 

As I said, so damn adorable I want to squish its little red cheeks.


Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 - That's right, we're talking about it again, but this time we get some real info. In trying to be cute, EA had some poor intern stuff themselves into a zombie costume and preen around on stage:
 No one wanted to even clap the guy off the stage.
To the Plants vs Zombie game. For the first time in the franchise the plants are on the attack. Doctor Zomboss created Zomberbia and lords over it. 

On top of the zombie co-op modes they also added solo play against AI, and most impressive, local co-op. No one does that anymore. There's Lego games and....
You can also transfer all the characters you unlocked in GW one to two at launch.
Coming in Spring 2016.
EA Sports - Oh boy. Strap in. Here we go. There's a new game where you slap a puck around:
And a game where you hit a ball around:
And a game where you throw a ball around:
And a game where you kick a ball around:
And, okay, look. Some of these games are a good hundred+ years old. How much can really change? Fifa dared to add women, which caused a bigger shit storm than their embezzlement scandal because this earth is a shitty shitty place.

Their biggest new thing was the face capture. Using The Hoop Gawd (who must be someone anointed in the waters of Nothing But Net), they scanned his face with a phone ap and uploaded it to NBA Live 16.
There's something a little bit funny about this need to make characters look like you, be able to change their clothes to match your style, design their homes and cars. I call it the Simification of games. It makes sense, people love options. I only find it funny because Sims was always considered playing house and for girls and here it is in that super manly sports game.

In the words of Nelson Muntz - Ha ha!

To sum up, all those sports games will have a new entry in 2016. Play it if you'd like, or don't. I'm not your mother.

Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes - Breaking up their Sports coverage, EA brought out a couple mobile games. The first was one of three Star Wars games they talked about. All they said is that you can play with characters from the prequels (woo?) classic trilogies (a duh) and the clone wars (the only ones your kids know about. Sorry)
Minions Paradise - Trying to get people hyped for the coming Minions movie, you can play basically a freeware game with Phil the minion whose secret mission is to destroy everything he touches. You wind up on a deserted island, build some things, don't go full pirate and pillage the seven seas. Sadly.
The little minions bounce and weave around so much, I'm thinking someone needs to cut their sugar intake before they get diabetes.

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst - Explore Faith's origin story by rebelling against the big bad government. 

It was at this point that the twitch cast fell off a cliff. If you missed it too, here's the official trailer:


Star Wars: Battlefront - And here we end. Want to be Luke Skywalker? Want to fly an X-wing? Want to run around on Hoth freezing your naughty bits off? Here you go.

This is Vader's "Do I have to do everything myself" face.

There are 40 multiplayer battles across the galaxy far far away. You can be good, evil, Luke post motorcycle accident. It's wide open.