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.
I guess that’s all for now. Be good.
So our son, Cillian, was born Aug 12, 2018, at 2 in the morning. As the comic depicts, it was a pretty strenuous labour, but we all made it out happy and healthy, but extremely tired.
I had help with the idea and writing for this comic, from my fiancee, as she’s the one that did all the hard work. I just stood by and stress drank Red Bulls.
Our kid is 5 months old now. Already! Which is crazy, how time flies.
Hopefully I’ll get pt. 3 up quicker than the 6 months it took to get around to this one.
So I’m gonna be a dad in August. Baby boy on the way. He’ll be a professional gamer in no time I suspect.
When most people ask if I’m ready, I just reply “Yup. I’ve played all the necessary games to train myself.”
Fully competent until proven otherwise, right?
Also, new comic? Whoa, right?
True story. Butt Butt achievement in Runbow.
Runbow is actually a pretty fun game. Sort of like a poor-man’s Super Smash Bros with a single-player mode. It was last month’s Xbox One Free Games with Gold so I won’t complain either way.
I tried a new style this time around. Going black and white, 4 panels and different character style. Compared to my pin-up drawings, this is closer to my comfort level, as cartoony, simple art style is definitely out of my comfort zone. But as always, I will continue to update and change as necessary until I’m 100% comfortable.
Over on the game side, Playing the Waiting Game, I wrote up a review for RIME. Check it out. The game and review ;).
The whole concept of “finding” cars in the Forza Horizon series always seemed very illegal to me. The barns are just out there, and inside are these forgotten, neglected classic cars. And we find them, and suddenly they’re ours, for our car crew to fix up.
But who did these cars originally belong to? I mean, the property the barns are on have to belong to somebody. Therefore the barn and its contents would too.
Illestrader and I have been grinding our way through Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. As evident in this accurate, albeit, late comic.
True story though, the characters in this game say “shitballs” a lot. Sometimes it is hard to take the game serious when you actually listen to their dialogue. But I guess that’s part of its charm.
The game is incredible though. It is a near perfect Co-op experience. The missions structure gets a little repetitive, but it gets mixed up often enough that it never feels stale. And every interaction feels unique in co-op because any number of things can go wrong.
I actually started this comic back on April 4th, but for some reason it just took the back burner to everything else I had going on. I’ll try to get better at the regular updates.
In other news, I wrapped up WatchDogs DLC. There’s another one coming out soon, but I won’t worry about that for a bit. I also wrapped up Dues Ex Mankind Divided. Currently working on Call of Duty Black Ops II now that its finally backwards compatible and some other games. I purchased the Bioshock collection, and will be playing through those 3 games in the near future.
That’s all for now.
As you can see from the comic, I don’t play well with others.
It probably comes back to my meticulous nature, but when I’m working in the home base, I have a strong urge to make it very flat, easy to navigate, with all the pods and extensions laid out precisely. However, using the deformation tool, it is really easy for someone to walk in and start modifying the land. This is not acceptable. I will bury you.
When we found the research object with our rover, we realized at that point that we both couldn’t sit in the vehicle and move the object, so one of us had to volunteer to be left behind. At the time we couldn’t have predicted how far away our home base actually was, and it was only a later realization that Illestrader was left there without the free air that came from the Rover. It was a worrisome revelation for a few minutes.
And yes, Illestrader actually trapped himself on our nearest Moon. True story.
This comic was a bit tougher to pull off as I had some issues with the stars. I was using the noise filter to make them, but I guess I used way too much for the distribution. So even though I played with the levels to get it looking good, when I flattened and saved the image, the amount of stars just came back 1000x and took over the whole sky. So I have to go back and find another way to reproduce them. Not 100% happy as I feel they could be brighter. But oh well.
Next week I should have a comic within Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, which we’ll be starting up this weekend. Super excited.
So our trip to Las Vegas did not go as planned. As we flew out on the Monday, I was sick all day. Felt sick on the plane on the way there, and then got really, really sick as we arrived to at the hotel. We stayed at the MGM Grand, and our trip was only 3 days long. So getting sick really ruined our first day. I won’t go into the details, but the comic can let you know where I spent the majority of the night.
At around 3am, Nichole started getting the same symptoms, and so for her, day 2 was a write-off. My symptoms were still iffy, but at least I got to get out of the hotel and eat some food and spend some time with the friends we were meeting down there.
Day 3, our final full day, we finally got to go out as a group, see some of the neighbouring hotels and some of the attractions. We also went to see a Cirque show that night at the Bellagio. So we definitely tried to make the most of our final day and see as much as possible.
The next day, Thursday, we flew home. A whirlwind trip, with lots of trolling about getting married, just to agitate our parents.