A new comic for a New Year. Happy 2021! Hopefully it’s better than last year.
I actually started this comic last year shortly after finishing the Assassin’s Creed post. I was in the drawing mood and jumped right into it. But then I moved to a new house. And preparing and executing the move took most of the month, through Christmas and into the New Year. But that’s over and done now, so its time to be productive.
This comic takes place in the wonderfully weird world of Control, a game in the same universe as Alan Wake and Quantum Break. I played the game last January and really dug it, and I’ve actually been sitting on the idea for this comic since then. There’s a room in the game that is just covered in sticky notes. And there’s a collectible document that is an internal memo from the Vice Chief of Staff, J. Bozer. He’s complaining about the state of his office after his sticky notes started duplication and deems his office unusable and decides to work from home.
Now in today’s Covid-19 world, working from home is common / expected in an office environment. But I just found the room, and memo very funny. Which spawned the comic idea. Also I liked the idea of the comic being from Jesse’s (main character) perspective. The whole concept that you show up at this building and suddenly you’re the new Director in the wake of the death of the previous Director. Just because you picked up his Service Weapon. Figured I’d explore that a bit.
Drawtober 2020 is in the rearview mirror. And it took its toll on me, mentally and physically. So I needed a break for a bit before I started tackling my wrestling comic again (which is making slow progress).
To ease myself back into drawing I decided to make another STF comic. It’s been 6 months so it was overdue – but I’ve been busy (wrestling comic, you see).
So the story behind this comic is earlier in November, I picked up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey again and have been spending my weekends in Greece killing Cultists (the new Templars I guess). And I’ve been spending far too much time in the photo mode, which you can capture some stellar shots. The game is gorgeous on the Xbox One X in 4K and the photo mode just accentuates that. So yeah. That’s the story.
I’ve included a clean version of the first frame as well. Because I thought the art turned out pretty cool.
That’s all for now. I have a move to prepare for in December, so this will possibly be the last comic of the year. So until then…
I have a love/hate relationship with Sea of Thieves. The game has been out now for over two years, and they keep coming out with new updates to add to the story, and over-all experience. Its now got plenty to do aside from the standard Gold/Skeleton/Merchant quests. Its also a gorgeous game. And you can also have pets.
But the basic game is still there, and its still a grind. Oh man is it a grind.
I’ve been enjoying the Tall Tales, and just sailing around with friends lately. Getting randomly attacked by a skeleton AI ship or two, or getting chased by a Megalodon. (Haven’t seen the Kraken up close yet…)
Sometimes the randomness of the AI can be a bit unfair. Like when you set out for the day on a sloop. Just you and a friend. And within minutes, you’re flanked by TWO skeleton ships.
My main complaint though, would be the real world players. And I know it comes with the territory, playing an online game on a server with others. But to advance your leveling in the game, you have to go on quests, to find chests and kill skeleton leaders, and then turn in your loot. And to play a full night, only to have some random players show up out of nowhere and take you out, so that your boat sinks, along with your night’s work… well, it really stings. The respawn takes long enough that you might be lucky enough to be back in time to see your boat sink. But chances are, the other players are still there, currently stealing your stuff. And they don’t let you live long enough to help lend a hand.
So yeah, sometimes the game can be frustrating enough to delete off the hard drive.
Rage 2 did a lot of things well, but it just didn’t feel like its predecessor. It didn’t have the same gritty, dark feel, but more like an adrenaline fueled arcade version. Like the movie Crank, where your heart isn’t allowed to slow down.
The gunplay was fun, I’ll give it that. Each hide-out or mutant cave was fun to take down. It never felt repetitive. But the focus was always on the speed and explosive nature of the fights, and less on strategy and nuance that the first game had. The first game was creepy and ominous at times because enemies in the world were a threat. In Rage 2, they’re playthings. You have so many different types of weapons and abilities at your disposal that it feels more like Devil May Cry, where the fights are more about style and variety. The game is a first person shooter version of Mad Max and Just Cause mixed together. Which I guess makes sense because it was developed by Avalanche Studios.
They also neutered the wingstick. Most of the enemies are covered in armor, which makes the wingstick useless. Might as well throw it against a wall.
I also experienced a lot of technical issues with the game. The menu would freeze and hang, depending which way you tabbed though the different settings, and I would lose audio quite frequently in the open world, while driving around. Checked the online forums, and the recommended fix was to restart the game. Awesome.
Anyways, I beat it. And all the DLC. So at least that says something.
Oh kiddo. An endless treasure trove of comedic genius. Honestly though, this comic is the exchange my wife and I had, verbatim. And it’s a good lesson that you don’t always need to experience and record your whole life through the lens of your phone’s camera.
Jokes on her though, as I CAN post this memory to Facebook.
I’ve been playing a lot of Jurassic World: Evolution lately. It’s a sim-type game where you run a Jurassic type park, and have to make dinosaurs and make the enclosures, and make sure they’re fed and visible to the public, and then you also have to make sure all the people attending your park are taken care of.
The game is a lot of fun, but what happens to me when I play a game a lot, is that it starts to enter my subconscious. And then, when I’m are trying to fall asleep, I’m thinking about the game, and the managerial tasks that need taken care of. And lo, in the middle of the weekend, when I’m playing with my son, I may find myself building a dinosaur park around him, making sure his comfort levels are OK, and he’s fed and watered.
Anyways, it’s been a nice change of pace from the stressfulness that is Control, the other game that’s kept me occupied.
From the art side of things, I tried a softer shading method this time around, and I’m happy with the results.
Oh man. I lied on the last post. I really thought the Star Wars post would be the last comic of the year. And yet, here we are.
Game nights typically happen this way. We’ll have big plans at the outset. But they usually devolve into just hanging out. The night is usually hampered by game updates, or installation wait times, or just internet/multiplayer connection woes. The magic number seems to be 4 people. Anymore, and games just aren’t happening.
For true this comic wraps up 2019. Happy Holidays from iRogan. See you in the New Year.
Welcome back. Last comic for 2019. A fairly prolific year for Stranger than Friendship comics, I must say. Four whole comics. Beats the “one” I did in 2018. As always, my goal is to do more, and 2020 feels like the year! But I say that every year…
I recently completed STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order, and one of the gameplay elements is that whenever you save your game progress, the enemies in the zone you are in will respawn. This sounded like a funny concept when you think about it from the perspective of the enemies. Do they retain any knowledge of what just happened before I killed them, only to save, and then kill them again just to grind out an achievement?
Back to the video game related comics. This one taking place within the Gears universe. Illestrader and I have been playing through Gears 5 in co-op, and we have been struggling through on the Experienced difficulty settings. The franchise has always had 4 levels, Casual, Normal, Hardcore and Insane. With Gears 5, its now Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced, and Insane.
We’ve been playing on Experienced and it has felt like a grind. Especially on some of the bosses. Maybe we’re getting older? Maybe it’s because we only have a few hours each week of dedicated co-op time. And there’s no reward for punishing ourselves for this, no achievement, etc. So we dropped it down to Intermediate and its now fun again.
I’ve been re-reading a lot of older web comics like Mac Hall recently, which inspired me to work on my own. Hopefully at a little more regular pace.
I’ve stopped working on the Air to Ground web comic, and have decided to solely focus on my own projects.
Also, funny enough, this comic being #13, I lost a lot of work when my toddler turned off my computer. I had all the ink done luckily in another program, as I use both Manga Studio and PS. I had all the colour done in PS and was just working on the frames and dialogue boxes. Had finished for the day, and saved the project. And was just flattening all the layers to export a progress jpg, when my little guy turned off my computer. In the middle of the flattening process. This corrupted the PSD file and I lost all the colouring work. Unlucky #13. I was able to recreate it last night, and now we have the final product. And I will admit, it’s even better than the first pass. 😉
Wrapping up the Fatherhood trilogy here. The next idea I have is Motherhood related, and then we’ll probably go back to more conventional stuff.
I’ve been experimenting with different techniques lately, and learning a lot about lettering and word bubbles. But I will probably go back to my normal, more comfortable style for the next comic, so that I can complete a few more in quick succession. Experimentation is a lot of trial and error, and just makes everything take longer.
On the business side of things, I finally decided to make this comic a little bit more legitimate, and registered a domain, which is http://www.strangerthanfriendship.com. So that’s fun :).
And I’m also still working on the monthly military comic with my friend, over at Air To Ground.