RELEASE BLOG: The Super Space Tour 2000!

Hey, so I just wanted to make this blog post to talk about The Super Space Tour 2000 a little bit. It's a new animated series I'm making, with a similar style to that of Tiny Town. Though I believe it is still more technically complex in some areas (more complex rigs with light facial animation, for one). It's going to be very similar to Tiny Town, however. In the sense that it's very on-the-fly writing with some absurd characters and general silliness. So yeah, it's about a crew of "Space-Adventurers" led by a robot who's programming is to document the entire universe. This first episode keeps it simple, not a whole lot has happened yet, but that will soon change. The basic premise of this, that they're exploring the universe, can potentially lead to pretty much any number of crazy scenarios, characters, planets, and what have you that the main characters will venture in. Basically, they're gonna have a lot of cool space adventures. Don't think this means I forgot about Tiny Town though. That's still happening. Anyways, that's pretty much it for now. Stay tuned!

What I'm doin'

Hey there, so here's a little refresher of what I'm doing. For the first time in a long while, I have a decent amount of free time on my hands. Which is a good thing, and also kinda problematic. I've been experimenting, doing all kinds of stuff. Tiny Town, the podcast, random animated videos, I'm even doing some other weird stuff like a rap album with Arman. The only reason why it's problematic is that I'm leaving some other things behind a little bit. I'm still keeping up with Roomies, thankfully, but I'm definitely slacking on Bill and Bob and A Byte Of Life. Byte Of Life is something I don't care about too much, but Bill and Bob is definitely still a high priority of mine. So it sucks that I'm leaving it behind a little.

Example of a miscellaneous animation I made on a whim

Example of a miscellaneous animation I made on a whim

The big problem is I don't have a proper schedule, I just kinda do stuff when I feel like. (Save Roomies, I make sure to release that every weekday, even if I upload a little late in the day sometimes.) A weird thing might happen where when I have less free time, I might become more structured. So for the time being, probably gonna be a little sporadic.

As you can see, most of my animated experiments as of late have been 3D

As you can see, most of my animated experiments as of late have been 3D

Then there's stuff like Cornerstories: Chapter Two. I had meant to get that out months ago to be honest, but I sort of lost track of it on account of the fact that my voice actor bailed on me, and it suddenly seemed significantly more of a pain in the ass to make. I kinda grow tired of Adobe Flash to be honest, drawing in it is just...not fun. Not to mention the countless weird problems, glitches, and frequent crashes. Animating is and always has been a tiring process, admittedly. But, what keeps you going is the result. Unfortunately, with flash, it's very difficult for me to get something that I think looks satisfying, despite the amount of damn time I spend doing it. It seems like I need to change something. Not sure what, but something. Maybe then I can release Cornerstories: Chapter Two in a jiffy. We'll see what happens, though.

Tiny Town is great because it's a piece of content that can be released very quickly, almost in a serialized fashion

Tiny Town is great because it's a piece of content that can be released very quickly, almost in a serialized fashion

Let me touch a little bit on the podcast. So, it doesn't quite have a schedule. But, I have been able to release it pretty consistently, with some pretty cool guests, too. Which isn't nothing, considering it's dependent on other people. (I.E. It's not like Roomies, where the only requirements are me, and my tablet)

 

So..basically, my plan is to keep doing what I'm doing for now. Maybe I'll get on Cornerstories, maybe I'll start being more consistent with Bill and Bob. But, probably not right now. To be fair, I'm also at a pretty pivotal point in my life. I'm moving out of my parents house, and going to college. That's all. Thanks for reading! Redman out.

RELEASE BLOG: Tiny Town!

Hey all, just a brief blog to tell you about this little series I'm trying out called Tiny Town! It's a crudely animated series that depicts the experiences of a group of tiny characters living in a "Tiny Town"! You can check them out on the Animations section of the site!

I kinda pitched this idea to myself when I thought about how long it takes for me to make an animation. I theorized an easier-to-create, more serialized style animation, that could still be entertaining despite being so aesthetically lackluster. So I came up with Tiny Town. It's a low risk thing for me, I might make five episodes and throw it in the garbage, or I might make fifty and just be getting started. The great thing about it is that they really are incredibly easy to actually produce. It takes probably four to eight hours to create one of these, as opposed to something like CornerStories, which is anywhere between 50 - 100 hours. That's a rough approximate though.

Anyways, enjoy the two episodes there are now. Definitely more to come!

Minor Hiatus on Roomies

Hey guys, really sorry about this, but I am putting an extremely brief hiatus on Roomies. It's just for this week. (March 20 - 24) I don't usually do this but this is a unique circumstance. It's rather personal so I don't want to disclose it. Roomies will be back with a bang on March 27!

Checkin in'

I'm making this blog to basically reiterate the fact that I am still working hard on some new projects. CornerStories - Chapter Two is happening and I think you'll like what I've got in store for that. I plan on getting a move on with Bill and Bob, Volume 2 in the near-future as well. Roomies, I realize is a bit bumpy here and there, but I've got some cool new ideas for that which will hopefully expand the character roster and make the overall story more engaging. The "sub-comic" concept I tried recently with it is an example of me trying to make it more unique. Other than that, I've been messing around with 3D Animation more lately, and the kinda stuff I'm doing makes the stuff I demoed in my really old blog post about 3D Animation look like garbage. Though that isn't saying much. Alright, that's about it. Thanks for tuning in!

RELEASE BLOG: CornerStories - Chapter One

So, this is going to be a side-note sort of blog to go alongside my most recent animation. It's the first chapter of a new series, CornerStories. Essentially, the creation of this resulted from me realizing two things, and reevaluating my process for animating as such. One, I have way too many ideas and stories that take place in the same universe, and that I might as well make it more cohesive and have each story be more clearly part of a whole, by incorporating all of these ideas into one series. Two, I realized that me, just being some random dude trying to do this basically by his lonesome, not getting paid in the process, doesn't have to have superb quality in terms of animation. At the time, trying to animate was tiresome, monotonous, and extremely overwhelming at times. So, I cranked the quality down a tad. I cut the framerate of character animations from 30 to 15 fps, I cheaped out on lip sync occasionally, and I wasn't too picky on the quality of the lines themselves. I haven't animated enough to come up with more of an accurate estimate on how much time this saved, but it felt like it sped up the process like five times over. I managed to bang this chapter out in something like five weeks. It was also more fun and less stressful. 

I want CornerStories to be somewhat different, and you'll see exactly what I mean by that in due time. I imagine some viewers might think that this show is entirely about Mr. Blah and Steve, when in-fact, they're just one piece of this massive puzzle. There's going to be many more characters, with many more stories. Some might connect, others might be isolated. The themes and genres of each are going to range. A Chapter could be comedy, action, mystery, abstract, or maybe even horror (though I don't have any real plans for that). I will say now though that the action animation that I mentioned multiple times, a few blogs ago, is definitely going to be a part of this series.

For now, that's all I really have to say about this. Special thanks to Arman Karshenas and k00lkyle for providing their voices and help with this first chapter, they're great guys and their eagerness to help was really inspiring. Redman, out.

Cruisin' for a Bloggin' (What?)

Hey, how's it going. I think I'm long overdue for a new blog post.

So, when I made my previous post, "What's Redman been up to?" I felt that it was going to be a turning point for my blogging. You know, that "for real this time guys, I'm taking blogging seriously now". When I came to write this one, I was shocked when I gazed upon the release date of that blog. It's seriously already been like a month and a half? How the hell did that happen?

Well, it did. Let's not dwell on that, shall we, and get straight to it. My plans have changed a bit, since my last post. That daily comic I was talking about? That's still kinda up in the air, but I feel that I'm going to have to spend a lot more time thinking about it before I have an actually sound idea, because it turns out the one I had wasn't working out so well. I drafted about thirty strips, and before long it became very fatiguing to even come up with a usable punchline for each one of them, let alone have it be even remotely interesting or funny. I have a lot of respect for those who have written successful long-running comic strips. It's a serious feat to come up with a genuinely attractive set of characters and settings that can be re-used hundreds and thousands of times and still be entertaining. Basically, I still want to do it, but it's gonna take a lot of conceptualizing and drafting. It's very possible that I'm overthinking it, however, I might come back to that idea and be like "wait a minute, this is was actually amazing this whole time!", and maybe then I'll get the ball rolling on that. Until then, however, I have a fairly strong idea for a new traditional graphic novel style comic with the same sort of principle. Black-and-white, low detail, as to make it faster and more consistent for me to make, and have going in the background while I work on more ambitious projects.

Speaking of which, remember that action-packed animation I spoke a bit about? The one where I showed a drawing of that gentleman with the eyepatch and the pistol? I'm probably putting that one off a bit, as well. Definitely gonna do it, but it might take longer than expected, as some interesting things have come up for me in terms of animation. Not fully prepared to say anything about it quite yet, but if you are one of the few who's been following me from way back in the "StickFigureMasterDX" days, I'll say this: It's gonna be a bit of a blast from the past.

This all may seem kind of spontaneous, but I suppose that's just how I work. I've been extremely busy lately, but I'm still very dedicated to my craft, and I'm hoping I can start making some really cool shit, really soon. Ciao!

What's Redman been up to?

This is gonna be an "just checking in" type blog, where I address some things that you might be wondering about. If you're confused as to why I claimed on my front page that I would update this blog "weekly", and yet, there hasn't been a post for like three months, allow me to explain. To be blunt, I haven't had the inspiration to write anything substantial. I've always been very "hush hush" about what I'm working on, which is kind of problematic for blogging. Most of my posts right now are about video games and technology, because I'm very passionate about those things. But I realize that the average Joe coming to my site (aka you) might not be as interested in those things, and even if you are, you would rather go to a different site to read about them. Furthermore, it's totally unfocused. This is supposed to be a COMIC site, for cryin' out loud. So, I'm going to try my best to completely move away from that, leave the video game stuff for A Byte of Life, and blog about things that are more unique to me.

That being said, here's a short rundown of what I've been cooking up.

When I was a little Redman, I used to spend long hours reading legendary comic strips such as Calvin and Hobbes, and Peanuts (as well as many other not-as-legendary, but still awesome comic strips). The black and white, three-or-four panel, new one every day format for these comics has always stuck with me. It's simple, but has vast potential for telling extremely long stories and revealing complex characterizations, one little piece at a time. So, I started sketching out some ideas, and eventually came up with a pretty solid concept for a daily comic strip I could run right here on the site. It would be a total blast for me to write, and it would provide some consistent content for you to enjoy (cause when I say daily, I mean daily). "Why didn't I think of this earlier?", I said to myself. The world may never know. There's a pretty strong chance that this will be a reality, but I can't promise anything yet.

Next, I have some things to say about the animation side of my creative endeavors. I am working fairly intensely on a new animation that's going to blow your socks off, I promise. I'm going to incorporate everything I've learned about 2D and 3D animation into one energetic package. Here's a conceptual image:

All I'm going to say about it is that it's going to be action-oriented, which you could probably gauge from this image. I really do hope you enjoy it when I'm finished with it, because it's already proving to be quite the project.

That's all I got at the moment, but thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope I'll be able to make a new post sooner rather than later, but we'll just have to see.

Thoughts on Virtual Reality

This past week, two Virtual Reality (VR) headsets released on a consumer level, the Oculus Rift, and the Vive.

Now, let me start this off by saying I haven't personally experienced what it's like to use these headsets, but I HAVE experienced a bunch of random strangers experience them! That's more or less the same thing, right? What I mean is, I'm at least qualified to give my two cents on where the software development for these things should be headed.

Because in terms of the hardware, both of them seem like perfectly capable devices. They both have displays in Full HD, twice horizontally, one for each eye (That's like double the HD, bro!). These displays are also in 90 Hz, which is smooth enough, but ideally they should probably be 120 Hz. In terms of input, the Vive seems to be ahead of the game. The Vive utilizes "room scale" technology in order to track the movement of your head relative to the size of the room you're in, with the help of two hi-tech sensors. In layman's terms, this means you can walk around the room and the in-game camera will move accordingly. It also makes use of two motion-tracked ergonomic controllers, acting as your "virtual hands", so to speak. Meanwhile, amateur hour over here, the Oculus Rift merely tracks the movements of your head flawlessly. Walking around the room with the Rift is an option, although it's slightly less accurate, because it only has one hi-tech sensor doing the tracking. Oculus Touch, an official motion controller for the Rift is a thing, although it hasn't been released yet.

As a result of all this, the Vive is slightly pricier ($799) than the Oculus Rift ($599). It's something to consider when choosing from these devices, but if you're rich enough to be buying this stuff so early, you're probably going to end up buying both anyways.

Alright, now let's have a look at the premiere software available for both devices.

EVE: Valkyrie

EVE: Valkyrie is a first-person multiplayer space combat game which was designed for VR in mind. I personally think this is a great idea, something as menial as sitting in a cockpit will easily feel real with the tech we have at our disposal. My only complaint is that it isn't Star Wars themed. Imagine piloting an X-Wing or a Tie Fighter in VR!

 

Hover Junkers

Hover Junkers is a multiplayer first person shooter where you build and take control of pseudo-futuristic spacecrafts and engage in shootouts with other players. This game was built from the ground up for VR, and it shows. The shooting itself feels like the main appeal of this game. You have to physically strafe, aim, and take cover to ensure victory. It seems forward-looking in terms of design, and it really takes advantage of the Vive's aforementioned controllers.

 

Lucky's Tale

Lucky's Tale is a platformer game that...doesn't look as impressive as the other games I've listed here. Right off the bat, does this really need to be in VR? I mean, the game has a fixed third-person camera like any other 3D platformer. Imagine how weird this would be to actually play, you'd feel like a magical floating cameraman! Also, even by the standards of other non-VR 3D platformers (Banjo Kazooie, Super Mario 64, Spyro the Dragon), it looks mediocre at best.

 

Modbox

Modbox is a physics sandbox game where you toy around with different objects and invent new ways to use them, similar to Garry's Mod. It seems like playing this would be like having a "virtual lucid dream" of sorts. Like Hover Junkers, this game uses the Vive's controllers effectively.

 

ADR1FT

ADR1FT is an adventure game where you take the role of an astronaut who survives a catastrophic event in space. This game looks stunning, but other than that, it doesn't offer much as a VR game. You could watch the 2013 film Gravity using VR and have more or less the same experience. 

 

There are plenty of other VR games out there in the VR sea, but for now, we can atleast come up with a generalization for the current state of VR software. There are only a handful of developers who are truly taking advantage of this mind-boggling technology, whereas the rest of them are like "just add VR it'll make our game so much cooler". To be fair, this whole VR thing is still in its infancy. I'm sure in the coming years we'll start to see this change for the better, but either way, let's make one thing clear:

The Simpsons totally predicted this shit.

Mario Paint Requests

After the thunderous success of my original Mario Paint post, I decided it would be interesting if I drew some more stuff in Mario Paint. However, this time I asked my various friends and acquaintances for ideas.

Uh... here are the results.

(Spoilers for Star Wars VII, but you've probably seen it at this point.)

A Goomba riding Mario like a horse (with horse reins)

Gordon Freeman

Bill and Bob meet Jerry Owens (from Birdemic: Shock and Terror)

Muhammad Ali fights Po, where Muhammad Ali would obviously destroy Po (actual instructions I was given)

Luke Skywalker's appearance in Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

Mario as a Controversial Politician

A disturbing mug that my friend should probably throw away

LOD 0 Man (Don't even try to understand this)

Well, that was an experience. Thanks everyone for the suggestions, and don't worry, my next significant post won't be Mario Paint-related!

Philosophy in Comics

Like many new mediums, when traditional comics first came into the limelight, they were disregarded as being "good for a laugh, but not much else". But I'm convinced that since the beginning, comics have been able to explore broad philosophical topics (selectively, of course), especially highly interpretive ones. Perhaps this is because of their surreal nature. Ultimately though, they have the advantage of not having to take themselves too seriously.


Mario Paint

Mario Paint, released in 1992, was a Super Nintendo game that allowed you to draw, animate, and compose using the innovative Super Nintendo Mouse. Continuing to use this ancient relic has become sort of an internet past-time. Here's some stuff I drew on the drawing screen.

Mr. Blah (From Bill and Bob)

Ricky (From Ricky's Advertisement)

Vault Boy (From Fallout)

By request, one of my friend's Fallout characters (uh...also from Fallout)

Self Portrait

I might draw some more stuff in Mario Paint in the future. After all these years, it's still quite fun and intuitive to use.

Music in Video Games

Historically, there has been a line drawn between video game music and "real" music. But I feel like that line's been blurred in recent years.

If I had any serious journalistic insight, I'd be able to explain in great detail exactly why this is the case. But since I'm just some guy who draws comics on the internet, I'll have to settle with relaying to you some of my favorite tracks among different generations of Video Games.

Gusty Garden Galaxy - Super Mario Galaxy

Firstly, let's acknowledge a prime example of good VGM. The entire soundtrack to this game is phenomenal, beautifully combining a live orchestra with spacey electronic subtleties. This is a key track that sticks out to most people, for good reason.

 

Hydrogen - Hotline Miami

1980's Miami. Gang warfare. Animal masks. Hotline Miami is essentially a hardcore acid trip in video game form. Also, it has a stellar electronic soundtrack that gives the game an intense sense of momentum. Generally speaking, good-ass music will coach the player through a tough game like this one.

 

Aquatic Ambiance - Donkey Kong Country

Nintendo's second home console, the Super Nintendo, had a sound chip that was capable of creating more diverse melodies. As a result, Super Nintendo games could be eerie, just as easily as they could be exciting.

 

Introduction - Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge, a game about running, jumping, and kicking your way in low FOV in order to uncover a terrifying government conspiracy, all backed up by an amazing electronic soundtrack from Solar Fields. There's a lot of things that they could've done better with the actual game part of the game, but Mirror's Edge succeeds at being one of my all-time favorite video games in general. Needless to say, it might have something to with this soundtrack.

 

TMNT IV: Turtles in Time - Sewer Surfin'

Here's another great Super Nintendo track. This wouldn't feel out of place if they used it for the intro to the actual TMNT cartoon. Like I was saying, the Super Nintendo was capable of variety in terms of music. Furthermore, doesn't this make you want to stuff your face with pizza and beat up a bunch of ninjas?

 

Ending Theme - Super Mario World

Arguably the greatest platformer of all time, Super Mario World boasts a legendary soundtrack. Created by the man responsible for video game tunes that even your great-grandmother probably knows, Koji Kondo.

 

Well that was fun, and it was quite the challenge to only pick a few. There's a lot of good VGM out there, so I might do a sequel post in the future. But until then, Jam on, yo!

3D Animation

I'm quite interested in the idea of mixing 2D animation with 3D animation. I've actually done it once, in Shroomz, one of my animations from last year. Although, it was very minimal and my method was nontraditional.

Anyways, take a look at some miscellaneous stuff I've been making in blender!

This last one here is arguably my most ambitious scene, so as a result it has some kinks to work out. Notably in the texture and skybox department.

Testing the waters

This blog post marks the beginning of my site! As the title would suggest, I'm basically just seeing how this looks and whatnot. The more interesting, thought-provoking, genius, masterpiece, George Carlin approved posts are yet to come.