The summer isn’t a very productive time for me. I work all day on the computer, so at the end of the day it’s hard to find the motivation to sit back down in front of the computer again into the late hours of the evening. Plus during the summer, with the heat, I’d rather do anything else than sit in an already warm room.
So I don’t really do a lot. I’ll play games, catch up on TV/movies, or read comics instead.
I did force myself to sit down and draw though, as it had been a month.
What I’m Drawing
Yeah yeah, another Gwen Stacy / Spider-Gwen, I know. This started out as just a sketching exercise for a warm up – no expectations, and then turned into a painting exercise. Overall I’m happy with it. Her head is a little too round, and I’m not satisfied with the hood shading, but it is what it is. Moving on.
I can always find something I don’t like about a finished drawing, and that’s motivation to start the next one, and do better. And I certainly like starting projects, just not necessarily finishing them. Always have at least 18 work-in-progress pieces I say, so I never get bored. 😉
What I’m Playing
Fall Guys, and quite a bit. The game recently went free to play and cross-platform, so it’s been my casual go-to when i have some free time. I’m usually good for a few rounds before I move on to something else, but that’s allowed me to rank up to level 40 so far this season, and win a few solo games.
Played and finished a smaller indie game as well, Sea of Solitude. Interesting platforming/exploration/puzzle game like Rime, but simpler. Its about depression and loneliness. Kinda dark, but artistic.
Played through Mortal Kombat 11 main campaign, still got the DLC expansion. Played through Sniper Elite 5 in coop.
Played through Dead Cells after they added the accessibly settings so I can play on easy mode to experience the game through, without struggling. I’m not really a fan of rogue-like games. I prefer to experience the game/story/whatever once through, and move on. So the whole gameplay loop of dying only to start over is tedious.
Also started playing through Hitman 2 – which is frustrating from an achievement competitionist perspective. Hitman 2 includes all of Hitman’s previous campaign levels AND all the achievements all over again. And I really don’t want to play through the game again just to unlock all the achievements. It would be nice if that save just transferred over, which apparently DOES work for Hitman 2 -> 3. But not Hitman 1. Oh well, gamer problems.
I really need to get back in to the routine of these, but might leave that till after summer vacation. So lets say… September we’ll be back on track. I’ll try my best to update as frequently as I’m able until then.
I took some time off after Easter as a mental break, but also as a cleaning break. Spring Cleaning I guess? But also I haven’t really had any real breaks from work since last summer. So some time off was overdue.
Plus, the boys were about to start up again in daycare / pre-school. The wife ready to go back to work. Easter was already a four-day long weekend, so I tacked on the week after as holidays. Cleaned the house, cleaned the garage. It was cathartic in a way, but ended up not being a relaxing time off at all. But I didn’t turn the computer on a single time, so that was one positive.
Which means I didn’t draw. I actually hadn’t done any drawing since I finished the last Stranger Than Friendship comic. Which tends to happen for some reason. They take a toll on me creatively more than my other art projects. Plus, obviously, the screen break plays a role. Which got me thinking about getting back into physical art again, and not relying solely on the computer. So I’ve bought myself a toy to try out. Deliver me my Huion LED Lightbox!:
I did some research and its one of the better reviewed options available. And it’s portable. Which is good because I don’t have any spare room on my computer desk.
I think I’ll still do my layouts/sketches on the computer, and then print it out and lightbox it for Pencils, Inks, Watercolour, etc. We’ll see how it goes.
I’ve always had this nagging feeling that I wanted to do my wrestling comic traditionally with pencil and ink, and then just scan for colour and the rest. So now I can give that a go.
// What I’m Drawing
I did a quick cartoon drawing that I’ve had in the back of my head for a while, ever since watching the movie Luca:
Luca is a Disney movie about a fish boy who travels to land. When he’s above water he’s in human form, but underwater he’s more of an underwater mermaid boy. Obviously being a Disney property, he’s a very cartoony character design. But, I always thought it would be funny to do a darker, Tim Burton-ish version. More of a sea monster type.
So I drew this up quick last night and I think this will be my jump-back-into-physical-art attempt. I’ll print the sketch, lightbox the pencil onto watercolour paper, and then finish as a watercolour.
I should have a finished product by my next update, and hopefully keep it from my 3yo toddler who enjoys the movie. Wouldn’t want to spoil that for him…
Besides that I have a few projects cooking:
X-Ladies group shot: adding Magik and 1970s Mystique to the group, and then colour
Angela – colour
Finish Goblin Queen
And a few projects simmering in my head:
Let Me Solo Her (Elven Ring community player 😉 )
Scarlet Witch (hopefully before the movie comes out)
Also I have the next Stranger Than Friendship webcomic idea, revolving around the popular game Wordle. I actually collaborated with a friend on this one. My idea/plot, but he volunteered to do the script.
// What I’m Playing
Knee deep in Halo Infinite. Half way through the campaign on Legendary; having just finished Mission 8 – Pelican Down and the 2 bosses. I’ve also been grinding through the collectibles as well, so it’s slow going. So far the campaign has been a lot of fun, feels like I’m at the part where its starting to really shine, and has an enjoyable story thus far.
Next week Season 2 of the multiplayer kicks off, so I’ll also be playing around in that. Trying out the new maps and modes, and the new Battle Pass.
In co-op, I’ve been playing Sea of Thieves – Pirates of the Caribbean Adventure. And also Grounded. Slowly expanding our base out a bit and exploring/completing objectives/crafting. We recently finished the Jungle Lab and stumbled across a might scary Spider Tunnel:
At home, my wife has volunteered me as the bug killer/catcher, so I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of spiders or bugs in general. But in-game, regardless of the game, I have a few phobias: Being underwater (very stressful / claustrophobic), and real world creatures, that are bigger than me, in-game. Like the Spiders in Grounded. Especially the Wolf Spiders. They’re just mean. Anyways, this spider web nest was creepy as hell and I was not interested in sticking around.
// What I’m Reading
Week of April 13th
King Spawn #9
Week of April 20th
Batman: The Knight #4
Blue & Gold #8
Catwoman: lonely City #3
The Nice House on the Lake #8
The Walking Dead Deluxe #37
I think that wraps up the last few weeks. Stay safe.
It’s been minute since my last blog post. 60480 to be exact. Where has the time gone?
It started with just a break. And then I started writing a game review for Watch Dogs Legion, my first actual game review 2017. Sure, I’ve done my Reviews Done Quickly every year since then, but those are just bloated paragraphs, tackling 25 games at once. Not needing much thought.
Attempting an actual review was much more daunting. And I plugged away at it, but hours turned into days turned into weeks. I pressured myself to finish the review by abstaining from writing blog posts. And suddenly 4 weeks had gone by.
It felt good to stretch those muscles again. And I’ve wrapped up a few games over the past while so maybe I’ll attempt another. We finished Far Cry New Dawn, so I could write one up for that. And the wife and I are nearly done It Takes Two – so there’s another option. I mean they’re not called Idle Reviews for nothing. This page was never going to have reviews for current games ;). But games released 1-3 years ago, that’s more my pace.
So, what’d I miss?
Well… I did some drawing. I played some games. I read some comics. I actually made another webcomic over at Stranger Than Friendship. First one of 2022, and actually first one in 6 months. Idle Comics is the name of the game.
Well, lets get started shall we?
What I’m Drawing
Gwen Rider? Ghost Spider? Spider Rider? What would you call her? I drew another Gwen Stacy variation. I know...you have an obsession…blah blah blah. I got some motivation after seeing some Ghost Rider art and thought it would make an interesting addition to the gallery. I’m not 100% happy with the design. Need to tweaks, but its good enough. It’s a worthy addition.
Angela / Spawn
Angela has been in my queue for a bit and I am super happy with how this one turned out and I’m excited to colour it. Very much stylized after the Capullo covers from the Spawn comics. So no background – just Angela. If the colour turns out how I imagine it, this will be the next poster.
This was actually a drawing from 2020. My plan was then to colour in 2021 for Drawtober 2021 but ran out of time. So I finally did colour it. Working off some of the rust, as my “to be coloured” pile is growing.
What I’m Playing
I am happy to report that I finally started the Halo Campaign after finishing Watch Dogs Legion. Attempting on Legendary difficulty, and it’s been a slow grind, but for what it is, it’s been fun. It feels very different from other Halo games, with the transition to an open-world design (semi open world, I don’t even know if its considered open enough to be open world). It feels and plays a bit different. But its a nice change.
I’ve also been spending some time within Shredders, which is a fun indie snowboarding game with awful, terribly dialogue and voice acting. Just cringey-bad. In co-op we’ve been playing in the Grounded – Game Preview as the game supports achievements now. I played this early on when it first released in game preview like a year ago, but it’s definitely expanded.
And actually jumped into Sea of Thieves for a few hours to try out the Pirates of the Caribbean addition. Yup, nothing really worth mentioning, other than the game still looks gorgeous.
That pretty much catches you up happenings around here. I wont even get started on the comic reading queue. I’ll just start fresh next week, instead of listing 6 weeks worth. Head over to the Stranger Than Friendship page to see the new comic, and then come back here next week for more games and art.
The third entry into the Watch Dogs series asks the player to forget playing as the main character. Play as anyone you want. And it works…mostly. But I feel you lose some of the ownership of the story when you don’t have a central protagonist. Now you’re a team, and there is no “I” in team, but there is a “ME”, and I felt like a backseat driver or armchair coach for these operatives risking their life to take down the authoritative surveillance state that has become London.
The story starts with a terrorist attack, and as a result, the city goes into complete lock-down with a very heavy handed privatized military group, called Albion, overseeing law and order. Street cameras, roaming patrols, and drones are always on the look out for any rebellious activity. And the terrorist attacks are blamed on the Dedsec group (even though we totally didn’t do it, guys) and the main plot of the game is playing as Dedsec operatives trying to clear their names and get to the bottom of the attacks.
The story setting is a futuristic dystopia. But not like TOO futuristic. Take the highly technical ideas of the Watch Dogs series we’re familiar with, with hacking capabilities right at our fingertips, and one central OS that runs the city. Then add crytocurrency, drones, driver-less cars, and Artificial Intelligence, and that’s the future we’re in.
The story touches on sensitive subject matter like human trafficking and organ trafficking, slave trade, and neural mind mapping which is essentially trapping people in a cyber-coma.
Ok, so that’s the setting, now lets tackle the gameplay. Everything from previous games is back. Hacking ctOS hubs, huge network grids that you need to unlock one node at a time, hacking cameras to spy on people. NPC profiles. Spider bots, guns and stealth play. Collectibles (barf).
New to the series are non-lethal weapons, like paintball guns, and shock rifles. Bigger, badder drones, and turrets, but also helpful drones, like cargo drones that you can call and climb onto, to access rooftops, and of course, the aforementioned recruits.
The progress tech tree is back, but with a slight twist. The progress tree allows you to apply points to unlock hacking capabilities that everyone within your recruit list can benefit from. These range from weapon upgrades, hacking enemy electronics (guns, radios), to hacking and hijacking different enemy drone and turrets. Also unlocking different combat techniques, like electrified brass knuckles for a one punch knockout, or electric traps, or different spider bots.
The grid hacking is the same as previous games, with minimal advancement in that area. Some grids are small, using multiple camera angles where you’ll need to cycle around the room, some are big, branching out across the entire outer face of a building, where you’ll need a drone to fly around and unlock. Gone is the urgency from some of the grids, as with Watch Dogs 2 there were timed nodes that would call security if you didn’t unlock the grid in time, but with WD: L, they just reset, and they were few and far between. Also, speaking of scale, it gets even smaller, as you have to build and control a nano-drone that can fly inside a server computer and laser computer chips, and avoid heat sinks and cooling fans.
Make way for the recruits. In Watch Dogs 1 and 2, the game proudly proclaimed that you could profile any NPC to find out about who they are, and then hack them and rob them. This game takes it one step further, and turns every NPC into a potential playable character. Every person on the street is a potential recruit. They all have jobs and depending on what they do, can provide gameplay perks. Like a construction worker can call upon a cargo drone at any point, or the former spy comes with a car and unique weapons or watch gadget. The hitman comes with an AR cloak, and the football fan comes with a gang of rowdy friends to help beat people up (leaning on some stereotypes here). Every recruit is unique in their own way, and by the end of the game I think I had accumulated more than 30 different members. Some will be stronger, and better at fighting, some will be better at hacking. There is also a permadeath mode to the game, where if your recruit dies, they’re gone for good, but on the normal mode they just get arrested or injured. And if you have a cop or a doctor-type recruit on your team, the cool down for the arrested or injured recruit is drastically reduced, and they’ll be willing to help again in no time.
Overall the idea is cool, and there are some missions where you have to recruit a specific person to fill the job, like a DJ to infiltrate a party, or a getaway driver to help escape, but besides those rare exceptions, its really nothing more than a novelty. You can dress the recruits how you want, and equip them with the needed hardware and gadgets, and they each have their own semi-unique personality and accent, but at the end of the day you’ll want the best stealth or best firearm for the job, and I found myself cycling out of 1 or 2 key recruits that I would use for every mission, and a 3rd if I happened to get my others arrested or killed mid-mission.
Really the best part about the recruits is that they roam around the city and scope out the next mission or side mission, so they’re basically mobile fast-travel spots.
So who is the main character of the story? Bagley, the AI. He’s with you every step of the way, and is always in your ear, filled with attitude. Even though you don’t play as him, he is the main character in my opinion. There’s even a post-campaign mission where you find out who Bagley was, prior to him becoming an AI, retreading on the story’s neural mapping ideas.
Overall the game was just OK. The main story villains played their role, but like our generic operatives, didn’t leave any lasting impressions. The final “who did it all” bad guy was a let down. The gameplay remains a fun mixture of stealth and gunplay. The anybody-is-a-recruit idea makes for a fun playground. However I did experience some issues with the collectibles and completion type of activities, like drinking at every bar location or completing all the paint-up wall paintings, as the achievements never unlocked for me. Apparently this is a glitch due to the changing operatives function, and probably the Xbox’s Quick Resume. The sure way of unlocking it is to visit all the locations in one sitting as one operative, and I really can’t be bothered to go back and do that.
I bought the DLC expansion, and haven’t tried that yet, but unlocking Aidan Pierce (WD 1) to be a playable character in the main campaign was fun for a minute, except hes now a grizzled shell of his former self, so playing as him was just depressing. He’s just so angry now. Playing as Wrench (WD 2) was fun though.
Notable Achievements: Meta-Gaming: Recruit a Video Game Designer Paint Me Like One of Your…: Stun Clan Kelly members 5 times with paintball gun headshots
For those that like cell phones, paintball, and driverless cars.
Let’s start this week’s chapter off with Halo, because why not?
I finished Halo MP. Well the Season 1 Battle Pass. 70 hrs played, 335 matchmaking games. Now it’s time for a break. Until May. 60 more days. I can do that right?
And here’s my two armour sets. Pretty snazzy.
What I’m Playing
So with Halo MP on the backburner, Watch Dogs Legion goes into first place in the queue. The PLAN was to then move onto Halo Campaign and Cyberpunk 2077 until May. But, but, but… Game Pass Breaking News!! Guardians of the Galaxy is coming to Game Pass March 10th. This game has been high on my list but I just couldn’t buy it full price. Now I don’t have to. So this will jump the queue right behind Watch Dogs. So I’ll have to try and wrap up that in the next 10 days. Which might be a little difficult because…
What I’m Drawing
I’ve been busy drawing. Which isn’t abnormal, but with my limited evening hours I can only accomplish so much.
I really don’t know what sparked the idea to do another Harley Quinn. Especially the Roller Derby variant.
Anyways, it’s still a work-in-progress. Tighten up the fishnets a bit. Tweak the face/eyes. Currently she looks little sleepy, and Harley is anything but.
I have an idea for the background, with her in the roller derby arena, and some of her fellow villains looking on. Joker, Ivy, maybe Croc and Catwoman.
What I’m Reading
Batman Vs Bigby #6
The Human Target #5
DC Vs. Vampires #5
The Department of Truth #16
Gunslinger Spawn #5
Blue and Gold #6
Snow Angels V 1 TP
Sweet Tooth Compendium
Also, its my Mangaversary. Last year I started listening to the Mangasplaining Podcast with Chip Zdarsky which got me into reading Manga for the first time.
1 year later I have 35 books, and I’ve read most of them. It’s enjoyable, and different in a good way from Western Comics, however I have slowed down on my collection due to my ongoing comics budget, as it is quite high. There are a few books I am interested in following through on, though. Just on hold for now.