Just got mail from Phil Bettany of runesigs.com, the very same Phil Bettany of runesigs.com who did a lot of work on the redesign of my supplemental pages, made me lots of nice graphics, did my favicon, and all that. As is his way, he included something fun in his e-mail, by animating the fifth panel of today’s comic (#082) to achieve exactly what I couldn’t with a static frame. Much, much funnier this way. Thanks again, Phil!
November 30, 2005
A couple readers sent e-mail informing me I got a mention in Electronic Gaming Monthly’s January issue. Perhaps it’s not the glossy, four-page spread I might have dreamt of, but sure enough, at the end of their Half-Life 2 for the X-Box review, they add “For Comic Relief, See:” and then the URL of my site. Pretty sweet! Thanks to Ryan for sending me a scan of the article. I’m not gonna post it save for the bit at the end, which you can see here. Please note: the “Good” and “Bad” comments are in reference to the game, not my comic, though I do sometimes have choppy visuals and lack multiplayer, for the time being.
November 29, 2005
Got another hunk ‘o burnin’ fan art, this time from azelito! Check it out here! Thanks, azelito!
November 28, 2005
Every so often, I’ll start up Garry’s Mod and foolishly load the gm_construct map. It’s a nice big arena, plenty of room to build things and play around, but productive building quickly devolves into spending hours upon hours spawning monsters, Combine soldiers, human rebels, and other NPCs to do glorious, bloody battle with one another while I watch.
Since I’m spending hours in there anyway, I thought I’d at least try to turn it into something useful, like a feature. And so, I present the first installment of “To The Death!”, wherein I will match various combatants against each other to see who comes out on top. (Just to be clear, none of this is done with posing, these are all action shots of the characters doing real battle. I am merely an imbedded cameraman.)
I thought I’d start off with some of the most durable, hard-to-kill characters in the game. In this corner:
We’ve got Alyx, armed with her special pistol, Father Grigori with his shotgun (named Anabelle), Barney Calhoun, armed with an Overwatch Pulse Rifle (or AR2) and Dog, backing them up, with a, um… banana.
See, Dog doesn’t fight outside of the actual game (his in-game fighting is scripted), and all he does in G-Mod is look for objects to pick up and play catch with. I’d been messing around with props and objects earlier, and thought I’d cleaned everything up, but I apparently missed the banana, which he immediately ran over and picked up. Sigh. Anyway, though Dog won’t fight, I figure he can at least provide another target, because our three heroes are about to go up against the toughest monster in the game:
The formidable Antlion Guard, also known as the Myrmidont. These huge, heavily-armored creatures attack by rushing their targets and headbutting them, and are very difficult to take down without grenades or explosive rounds, neither of which our other combatants have. Though, they’re the toughest NPCs in the game, and they have a robot with a banana. So, who knows what will happen? Everyone ready?
With lots of ground to cover, the Antlion Guard takes a lot of fire before he closes the distance, but soon enough, he’s reached his enemies and begins viciously headbutting them.
Alyx smartly runs a hook pattern to fire upon the Guard from behind, while Grigori and Barney take the brunt of the assault. Barney crouches to avoid being headbutted, yet it does him no good, as he is knocked through the air (still crouching, impressively). Dog helps out by standing there impassively with the banana.
Even with Alyx providing fire from a flanking position, Grigori is tragically headbutted to death. Dog, meanwhile, wishes he had someone to throw his banana to, while Alyx shoots the seemingly unstoppable creature in the butt.
Barney is the next to die, followed shortly after by Dog, who leaves behind only the banana, the ghostly imprint of his zero-point energy field, and a huge metal corpse. At least it sort of looks like his energy field is attacking the Guard. But it’s not.
Now it’s one-on-one! The Guard charges his remaining enemy. Will Alyx’s pinpoint accuracy and plucky tenaciousness be able to hold the beast at bay?
Apparently not. Adopting Barney’s “Crouch and Don’t Shoot” strategy, she is repeatedly knocked through the air by the bullet-riddled, yet still feisty, Antlion Guard.
Backed into a corner, it’s Do-Or-Die Time for Alyx Vance…
… but mostly Die Time. And so, this match goes, quite easily, to the Antlion Guard. I think we might do with a rematch, though, and a little evening of the odds. So, next time, we’ll try giving the human trio some cover against the Myrmidont’s deadly charges, by placing them inside the structure that is part of the map.
That’s for next time, though! Tune in Thursday for Match One, Round Two!
Garry’s Mod version 9.04 is out, and you can grab it here. There are several fixes, changes, and additions to everyone’s favorite HL2 mod: the spawn menu has been recoded and will now adjust itself to fit your screen, and there’s a cool new “SWEP” spawn menu, which allows you to spawn working weapons. This means that instead of the weapons clunking to the ground as simple props, you can now actually pick them up and use them.
And not just any weapons. Counter-Strike weapons. Very, very cool. Now you can spawn Combine soldiers and mow them down with your favorite CS guns. I tried it out tonight and it was a certain amount of fun that can best be described as “lots of”.
I’ve done very little linking of other webcomics I enjoy, something I’m going to rectify starting… now!
One of my favorite webcomics is Order of the Stick, a thrice-weekly serialized comic that follows a band of Dungeons & Dragons adventurers on their various, well, adventures. I’m not sure how much D&D you have to know to really enjoy the comic, but I played a lot as a kid and then a little more fairly recently, and I get most of the game references.
OOTS is bursting with meta-humor. The characters are quite aware they’re playing a game of D&D, and they often will discuss and poke fun at the rules and mention things like failing die rolls quite openly. Comics that take place inside a game actually have two fourth-walls to break, and at least some of the characters in OOTS are also aware they’re stick figures in a comic strip about a game.
OOTS also crams a heck of a lot of regular humor into its panels. There’s rarely a strip that is just a build-up to a single punchline, which means there’s almost always something to laugh about in the comic, if not several somethings.
I love the artwork as well. Rich Burlew, the creator of the comic, manages to do a lot with his simple stick figures, and they’re all very distinct and recognizable and colorful.
If you’re a fan of D&D and you’ve never heard of OOTS, I may have just killed your entire day, because there are currently 250 strips to enjoy. Like I said, it’s serialized, so if you’re interested, you should start at the beginning.
November 27, 2005
Concerned has been appearing every so often in the weekly webcomic round-up on the excellent gamer blog, Joystiq, which is pretty cool. Not that I’m complaining, but most of the attention for Concerned has come from posts in gaming forums, so it’s nice to see it featured on a mainstream site every now and then. They’ve got a poll set up now, too, and Concerned is (as of this writing) in second place! (Well behind the leader, Penny-Arcade, naturally).
November 25, 2005
Welcome to the new Extras page. It’s a bit of a work in progress, but it’ll be more of a blog format, with the newest items appearing at the top of the page and each item being categorized. So, if you want to see all the Fan Art entries or all the News entries, you’ll be able to filter the rest out by clicking one of the categories on the sidebar.
I hope to be updating it a bit more often — probably not every day but at least on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so there will be something new on the site every weekday. I’ll try to cover some more topics, including the latest HL2 mods and single-player levels, machinima, general gaming, and other webcomics, HL2-related or otherwise.
I’ve gone back and retroactively added almost all the stuff from the old Extras page, which may take a few days to get through. I’m still tweaking the design and layout, and trying to figure out a good archiving system (there’s some weirdness with the links not showing up on the archive pages right now).
November 11, 2005
And, a great picture from Trollax, where Frohman take care of business in a way that highly suggests he is dreaming. Thanks for the great art!
November 2, 2005
Some more great fan art! We’ve got G-Man’s magical hovercraft (from comic #70), beautifully brought to life by Cathal.
From Ian, here’s Frohman getting some good-natured revenge on a metrocop with a classic wedgie.
And, from Dan, who has thought about the implications of Combine surgery more than I have, this little speculative comic.