Aeon observation of Jason called on account of orbital mechanics.

Physics… is a bitch.

And Observer Effect is finally complete!

This page has been technically done for awhile – I finished before I started mockup work on OE 8 and it’s been more or less ready to go for like a week. There are a few issues with panel one that I’ve decided to live with – after a bit of a struggle I’ve decided to just accept some convergence issues, as they minimize the unfortunate jagginess of a render executed at a 16×64 sampling. I’ve done some cleanup, but the simple fact is that the geometry and palette choices made in the construction of the Aeon result in unfavorable anti-aliasing after it’s been blasted up to pretty with a Levels layer. It’s a dark ship – while that looks fine in color against a stellar nursery, it doesn’t translate particularly well to other scenarios.

Fortunately this is the last planned grayscale production page. All further work will be color, and that further work starts this weekend. The TV.2 script needs a second draft, and I plan to dust off some in-development 3d assets that haven’t seen substantial work since 2009. Assuming fiscal survival doesn’t consume the remainder of the year in its entirety I plan to have TV.2 into production in January.

Observer Effect is now complete, and somewhat seamlessly links modern production values and storytelling into DCR.1. Meaning you can now read Everything – Observer Effect -1- through Earth -42- – as a cohesive block of work. There’s still a five year gap between Dead City Radio and The Dualist, and so long as ATC is unpaid work that gap is staying there. Anything that would go into it is ultimately filler, as the story has (and will) compensate for it in its own time.

At this point Transitional Voices has roughly eighty pages left. I’d originally planned for 40 page chapters and when I’d started work on TV that was roughly where my head was at in terms of storytelling and pacing. Over the course of DCR I’ve learned how to condense things quite a bit, and my present projections have the remaining TV chapters in the 20-28 page range, maybe 32 at most. I’ve managed 43 pages this year despite personal and professional complexities – if I can keep that up then TV should finish in Q2 of 2014. If I can accomplish a reduction in overall panel count while maintaining pacing and information density I may be able to bust it out faster. The major Daedalus interiors are complete, and at this point the only real production holdup is asset development. The fact that a twelve or fourteen panel page takes as much time to produce as two six to eight panel pages is something I’m keeping in mind – TV.2 is going to have a lower average panel count than Observer Effect. Yeah, rendering larger panels technically takes longer from a CPU standpoint, but when you factor in drawing, cleanup, reference renders and so forth the total time spent on production favors the lower panel count.

Wrapping page construction commentary turned into an FNV blog post; capping off my comments on the page itself has turned into a Transitional Voices status report.

Comic-wise, the next page will be the TV.2 cover (in late december at the earliest). It’ll be the first step this thing has taken forward since 2008.

2012 11 15, 03:22 – Static for panels three and four set up a ways back. Busted out panels one and two this evening. Aspect ratio of the bottom margin is the split difference between the top and bottom margins of the high-res pages used in DCR.2 through present and the lower resolution pages used in DCR.1. That and the static are a deliberate ease-in. The plan for DCR hardcopy is to run it with OE in front, making this a left to the right of page one of Whitehouse and giving Dead City Radio a hardcopy page count of 148.

Source material pulled from expulsion; levels tweaked for proper grayscale presentation.

I’d be all YAY DONE but I still gotta do backgrounds and line art for the previous two pages!

2012 11 22, 17:29 – OE9 is live. Chores, some work, then commentary and post of this page planned for around 0100 Friday.

2012 11 23, 16:12 – Right, that didn’t happen. Socialized instead. Groceries then writeup and post, probably around six or seven. Noodled the background of panel one a bit – anti-aliasing looks pretty ragged.

2012 11 24, 12:57 – And that didn’t happen. Black Friday hangover turned into the first Total Day Off I’ve had all year. One email all day. No calls. Grocery run, fourteen hours of Fallout: New Vegas. I’m running with all DLC (including GRA and Courier’s Stash), Project Nevada, Nevada Skies, A World of Pain, WMX, WMVM and most of NVEC. NVEC has some conflicts I don’t care enough to debug – it’s a mod comp that pulls together a huge pile of stuff, the stand-outs being Snowglobe Perks, NVB I and II and the Magic Fingers Perk. I bought the base game last year during a Steam sale and gave it a thorough playthrough, then bought all the DLC this year during another Steam sale and didn’t load the game again until a couple of weeks ago, when cabin fever spurred a hunt for BNB and associated mods.

It’s been a bit of a time sink, with two practical applications – first, fourteen hour work days are quite simply unsustainable, and second, I’m using FNV to kick my EVE Online habit. The experience of being in a player corporation in EVE is almost exactly like my real-world workflow. The key difference is that the real world is less demanding, pays better, and comes with a vastly more abstract and rewarding PVP experience. And the price of supplies in the real-world hasn’t increased 60-120% since Q1 2010.

When FNV runs out of fun, I plan to have The Modded Experience with Fallout 3. By then I should be completely de-EVE-d. The timing on this is pretty significant – I got into EVE after I’d been laid off from a ten year day job, and it’s been as much a part of the push to finish Dead City Radio as pencils and inks and the software toolchain. This is the last (planned) grayscale page – Observer Effect 10 puts the lid on grayscale, life puts the lid on EVE, and resuming TV.2 production after a four year hiatus will mean doing a ton of CG work on spacecraft that aren’t armed with Republic Fleet munitions, energy neutralizers, microwarpdrives and tackle.

I’ve never cared for the EVE PVP experience. Team Fortress 2 is more to my liking, in that I actually like it. EVE’s mechanics and PVE experience are what drew me in, and after a couple of years they’re the main thing pushing me out – after a couple of months in-game, mission running is boring as fuck. Space is consistently dull, and engaging in any activity more complex than a solo L4 requires such a degree of real-world coordination and teamwork that I’d sooner go to that effort for tangible rewards. Real money that I can pay real bills with. New Vegas (and STALKOUT in general) is something I enjoy. EVE Online is too much like work – not the fun parts of work, the work parts of work that you do to get to the parts you actually enjoy. Only with EVE, the “parts I actually enjoy” are the game mechanics, and the “everything else” is the application of those mechanics.

I have a few issues with the FNV DLC. The writing and voice work in Old World Blues is excellent, though spawn mechanics and enemy health and armor are not the Fun Hard, they’re the Not Fun Hard. Honest Hearts adds .45s to the base game and has a solid lead-in experience, which combine to make up for any shortcomings. I bear no resemblance to the target demographic of Dead Money so any comments I may have on that would stem from “WHO GOT SILENT HILL ALL OVER MY FALLOUT.” Lonesome Road feels like a rail shooter. The stand-out features of LR are the +1 to SPECIAL you get for completion, the ED-E clone, and the fact you can murder the shit out of Ulysses on sight, thus sparing yourself the agony of further monologuing. My big gripe with the DLC is the lack of a Broken Steel-style free-play equivalent. New Vegas ends with the battle for Hover Dam, period. While there’s a few different ways you can get there, the finality of the experience leaves out the most important aspect of the battle – that being how all the involved factions react in the aftermath.

Build log turned into an unrelated blog post. Oops!

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2 thoughts on “Observer Effect -10-

  1. Avatarmspreij, :

    Merry Christmas!

  2. dmhdmh, :

    <3! :) You too, man!