Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
×
Been a long time since I've even browsed DeviantArt. I'm not sure if I'll keep using it or not. Probably will. Might clean up some old dust here. 
I feel like I should update my DA more. For someone who considers themself an artist and who's friends consider them an artist, I feel like I don't spend enough time actually arting. But lately I've been kind of getting back into it. I haven't had time to work on the comic I started in a while, and I don't know when I will have time anymore, due to the fact that I am practically doing all of the art and design for this game I'm working on with some friends. I'll probably post some previews and such as we progress further, but we're making headway and that's exciting. But yeah, overall I'm pretty busy with doing so much of the work for this game in addition to 18 units this quarter and some personal and family stuff going on too. So idk when to expect the comic, but I'll probably be posting stuff from the game soon. And by soon I mean probably by the end of the year.
Haven't written a journal entry in a while, so I might as well write a new one now. I've been pretty ridiculously busy lately, but it's been fun. Well, when I don't have so much to do that I end up having to turn in my homework late, it's been fun. But yeah, lots of stuff to do, getting lots of stuff done; this is the type of lifestyle that suits me best.

Progress of stuff in my life:

Learning how to program:
- So far, so good. My logical, analytical mind tends to be good for programming, and my other programming friends (at least the ones not in my dorm, those guys are beast) tend to ask me for help.

Other school stuff:
- Surviving, but writing is a lot of work. I think after last week, I might have to take a hit in all my other classes to get a passing grade now. Otherwise, I'm doing well.

Social life:
- Rebuilt. Dorm life helps a lot with that, but I have friends outside the dorm too, so I'm doing well either way. I've met a lot of cool people here, a couple of which I hope to see later in my career.

Video game project:
- has not progressed much since last quarter. Maybe soon we'll find time to continue working on it.

Comic:
- Concept art getting done. Posting polished final/semi-final concepts here as I go along. Not sure about a time frame for when I'll start the comic itself, but I have a lot of ideas for it, so probably soon.

Other art:
- Most of my artistic focus is on the previous two topics I listed, so not much going on there. But at least I'm arting again. It feels really good to art.

Video games:
- What. Well, I've been playing a bit of Path of Exile lately, which I recommend. It's free to play, and I'd say it's better than a lot of games people pay for. Other than that, I've been out of touch with playing games (my computer and PS3 being at home), and I even missed preordering the limited edition of Dead Space 3. That's not something I ever thought I'd miss. Now I can only buy the normal version... if I end up getting a used copy, I give someone permission to shoot me.

And that's my life in a nutshell.
So I've been fairly inactive all through the summer, but that's going to change in about a week once I move onto the UCI campus where I am attending my first year of college as a sophomore (I had no idea until I looked up some of my info online that I had been accepted as a sophomore; I just think that's really cool). I won't be bringing my tv, ps3, or desktop to the dorm, but I will be bringing my new laptop and my drawing tablet. I figure this will not only help reduce distractions during my first quarter, but will also give me a chance to start drawing more. I've given myself a challenge recently to draw all the Demon's Souls bosses, and I'm halfway through the first one (Phalanx). Speaking of Demon's Souls:

DOUBLE GAME REVIEW!
I know that's not really exciting, but I've been obsessed with Demon's Souls since I got it, and Dark Souls (it's spiritual successor) has involved me even more. If you don't know about either of these games, you should check them out. They're set in a very traditional Dark Ages/Middle Earth setting, but have a unique feel to them, and are very interesting games overall.

Demon's Souls is a brutal game, not in terms of gore or violence, but in terms of gameplay. The basic premise of the game is that you will die, and you will die frequently. It is designed to be very difficult, but even as I found myself dying over and over at the same enemy or boss, I almost never considered the game cheap or unfair. The enemies don't spam ridiculous moves that kill you no matter what you do; they all have movesets that can be blocked, dodged, countered, or avoided altogether, depending on your playstyle. Some bosses, like Flamelurker, are quicker and more powerful than others, but even they are defeatable without using cheap strategies or exploiting glitches. Even so, you must be extremely careful, as even the most basic enemies have almost as good a chance of killing you as you do them.

Another gameplay mechanic involving death is souls. You gain souls by defeating enemies, or using special items found on some corpses, and they are used as the basic currency of the game. However, if you die, all your souls are left with your bloodstain, and you have only one chance to get to it before they're gone for good. This further induces caution in the player as one must consider at every turn "do I want to press on and risk all my souls? Or would I be safer off leaving and coming back later?" Souls are not only used to buy weapons, armor, arrows, and the like, but they are also used to level up. Each time you level up, it takes more souls to level up again. Leveling up can get very expensive late in the game, and when you loose a bloodstain that would give you just enough souls to level up, you might feel like ragequitting. But the strange allure of the dark and depressing world always keeps me coming back for more, no matter how many souls I lose, or how many times I die.

The third death-related element is soul form. At the end of the tutorial, you die and your soul is bound to the Nexus (which becomes your home base for the rest of the game). You then must go through the first level and face the first real boss to gain back your body. In soul form your health is halved, but you make less noise (in fact, audibly there is no noise - you don't tend to notice while playing, but returning to body form after spending a long time in soul form and hearing your footsteps again is an amazing feeling - subtle differences like this really help draw a distinction between the corporeal and the depressingly faded existence of the spirit) and deal slightly more damage (but not even by a noticeable margin). There are only three ways to gain back your body when in soul form. One way is to defeat a boss, which in this game sounds easier than it really is. Another is to use a special item which is, of course, extremely rare and in fact, I believe there are only a limited number in the entire game (though I could be wrong, so don't quote me on this). The third way is to invade the world of a player in body form, and kill him to steal his body for yourself. This brings me to my next point: multiplayer.

Demon's Souls has an online aspect of it that makes the game even more interesting and unique. The veil between alternate dimensions in the world of Demon's Souls is very thin, and sometimes one can catch a glimpse of another world. Ghosts can be seen running around occasionally, as they fade in and out of your own reality. These ghosts are other players, and you can get hints of what's ahead by watching them. Sometimes their death will cause a bloodstain to appear in your world. Touch the bloodstain and you can see their death so that maybe you can avoid the same mistake. You can also write messages that appear in other peoples worlds. These messages can be used either to help, or to deceive other players. These elements always game me a sense that, even though we were separated, all of us were working together to the same goal. In addition to these passive multiplayer elements, there is also active competitive and cooperative multiplayer. Players in soul form can place souls signs allowing players in body form to summon them, either to help defeat the boss (regaining his body in the process) or to fight for precious souls. Players in soul form can also invade players in body form, and if they kill the body form player will return to their own world in body form.

Overall Demon's Souls is an interesting and unique game that will beat you and brutalize you and keep you coming back for more. I made one of my friends sit down and play this game while I watched, and he later thanked me, having played approximately 13 hours the next day. I have no idea how he can play 13 hours of video games in one day, and wouldn't recommend it, but still: if you can handle death in a video game, then get this game. You will not be disappointed.

Now time for Dark Souls

Dark Souls is the successor to Demon's Souls in gameplay, but the story is not linked. In addition, where Demon's Souls was basically a set of five worlds linked to the Nexus and split into levels, Dark Souls is a seamless open world full of opportunities and a greater sense of exploration. It's like in Demon's Souls they came up with an idea and made a game to see just how good an idea it was. It was sort of ghetto, but in an awesome way, and was an amazing game overall. Then in Dark Souls they said "hey, let's take this idea, and see what else we can do with this. How can we flesh this out?" Dark Souls seems so far to be a much larger game (I have 62 hours put into it, though not all on my main file, and I feel like I'm only between halfway and 2/3 of the game through) and more imaginative. There's a greater variety of levels and enemies, and some of the enemies break the mold a bit more. I think they went a little haywire with some of the enemies that make you think "wtf is that?" but in my opinion the fact that they included them makes the game just that more awesome. Demon's Souls is more of the essence upon which Dark Souls is based upon; I love them equally in their own ways.

Dark Souls is pretty similar to Demon's Souls, yet it has many differences and has its own unique feel. As I said before, instead of a level-based system Dark Souls is an open world. It may take more than a few seconds to get from one area to another as it did in Demon's, but there are plenty of shortcuts to help make those trips easier. There are also more areas, and each area has its own design and feel to it. In addition, each area has its own set of enemies. Instead of resting at a central safe-zone like the Nexus, there are bonfires scattered around the world, which refill your health and your Estus flask (the main mode of healing in this game) and allow you to level up.

Another key difference is that the body/soul forms have been replaced by the concept of humanity. You start the game as an undead. Your skin is a brown-grey color depicting rot, and if you take of your armor (or start the game as deprived) you can see how emaciated you are. The first thing I noticed when I gained control of my character was that the health bar was full, and not halved. Being in undead, or Hollow, form lowers your defenses (and your attack too, I believe, I don't know the exact details), but does not halve your health. Throughout the game you can find Humanities which allow you to become human and to kindle bonfires. Kindling bonfires increases the amount of Estus flask swigs that specific bonfire refills, up to 10 without a special rite, up to 20 with. You can have multiple humanities on your person as well, increasing the strength of the bonuses you get from being human which include higher defenses and better item drop rates. In human form your rotten undead flesh turns plump and colorful again, a relief nearly equal to hearing your footsteps again in Demon's Souls. Even your battle cries are different in undead and human forms, another set of small details I really appreciate about this series.

As far as difficulty goes, it's hard to say which beats the other. I feel like Dark Souls started off easier, but has a larger difficulty curve, but that is only my personal experience. Do yourself a favor and get these games if you don't have them already. They are truly amazing, especially when considering that they were made by a small company.
  • Playing: Dark Souls and Demon's Souls NG+
Apparently I go against everything I say in these journals after I post them, so pay no attention to me here. :P
So yeah, remember when I said I'd do a lot more art come summer when I have free time? Apparently I lied, sorry. I actually haven't done any art since about two weeks into my summer. So far this summer, after spending a few weeks being generally lazy, I've been hanging out with my friends and focusing on learning how to and building a game I'm making for Android. I'll probably post some updates as I progress further, but I've been keeping it to myself mostly until now because I haven't had time to really work on it until recently. As far as art goes, I'll probably get back into it after I get my laptop fixed and have made some good progress on the game. Although there are some drawings I need to do to put into the game, so you'll probably see some of those appear before I start CB back up again. The good thing about being so unpopular is that I'm not disappointing too many people by being so inactive, but sorry to the few that might care.
Alright, well I'm finishing up school now, so I'll be getting my life back over the next few weeks, and my summer will be starting soon.

In other news, I recently bought Amnesia: Dark Descent. Those of you who know me know I love horror game. Despite only having gotten into the genre a few years ago, it's grown on me rather rapidly, and I've come to especially love the survival horror sub-genre the most. Where action horror games fail to provide any real thrills, and purely psychological horror games tend to bore through lack of challenge, survival horror brings both worlds together to make an environment that is both challenging and frightening. Silent Hill is my favorite example, as it creates a rich atmosphere, creepy enemies (which I must say are designed and animated so well, that they really look like something that may have been normal once, but got really really fucked up), a great soundtrack, and yet provides an actual challenge to players. I find that when I play the game, sometimes the scariest moments for me are moments when I am completely safe. But all that would go away if I knew that I was actually safe.

Well, enough about me and Silent Hill, I'm reviewing Amnesia here. I stumbled upon Amnesia when a friend on steam recommended it, and decided to look it up. It seemed like an interesting concept: stay in the light so you don't go insane, but sometimes you have to hide away from enemies in dark corners. Also, looking at the enemies makes you go insane, and makes them spot you. I watched a few gameplay vids, and it seemed neat. I could see it had a lot of potential, but it wouldn't run on my machine at the time (I only had a laptop then). Then I got the gaming computer I have now, and decided to try the demo. There were so many subtleties I found when actually playing it that you couldn't tell from the videos, and I instantly fell in love. I bought it yesterday, and so far I've only played about 3 hours on it according to steam. But I have got to tell you, this game is freaky. Most of the time you are safe, as long as you stay in the light. But it never feels that way, and since there are, in fact, many strong enemies in the game, you know that there's always a chance of being killed. Going through levels, there are many subtle audio and visual effects to create a sense of both being followed and going insane. You hear floorboards creaking, footsteps on different floors, thumps in nearby rooms, occasional groans and screams to throw you off. Then there are random supernatural events that have a dual effect of freaking you out and draining your sanity. Just when you're starting to think you may be safe, you catch a glimpse of an enemy, and are told to hide. Then after cautiously searching the whole level, the enemy is nowhere to be found (not that I've gone searching specifically for it).

The pacing is excellent as well. As you start to feel safe and that the game is just toying with you, the scares will also start to die down. You think "ha! there was nothing to be afraid of after all!" then, BAM, you open a door and there's a monster right there. Or perhaps you've been too freaked out (like after the water part, being chased by invisible monsters in a flooded hallway). It gives you a place to rest. Even the music an lighting show that this is a safe place. Then after exploring another section you come back and, although you're not in immediate danger, your safe place has been fucked. The lights are dimmer (not dark, per say, but noticeably dimmer than before) the music has changed, and you find yourself standing in a puddle of blood. I find myself in a similar state of fear as the character at all times. This morning, I checked my sanity level and it said "head pounding and hands shaking", and I found that I too had my head pounding and my hands shaking. I've played hours on end of Silent Hill games and not found myself as scared as I find myself in not even a half hour of this game. I dared myself to play an hour straight this morning, and found myself quitting out ten minutes early. Words cannot describe how much I love and fear this game. I congratulate the developers on a horror game well done.
Man, I've been so busy lately. And right now, as I can see my spare time about to free up, suddenly I have like five times as much stuff on my mind, and I'm totally freaking out about a bunch of stuff right now. And even a severely personal problem I've been having that I'd managed to repress for years has resurfaced its ugly bitch face again. And on top of it all, my lack of free time has caused my social life to be pretty much non-existent, so I don't even have anyone close enough to even mention I'm having a problem to.

So, idk. And I've also been giving into an old addiction of mine lately that I also broke for a long time. Not going to say what it is here, but those of you who know me well enough will know what I'm talking about. I mean, that isn't even a big deal or anything, it's not at a dangerous level or anything, just... whatever.

I don't even know why I'm writing a journal about this. What's the point? I don't know if there is a point... I'm just writing...

Anyway, about my lack of updates. Yeah, I've been busy, but I've also been drawing. I've been spending a lot of time on a couple projects, one of which is CB which I will start posting later, and the other of which is only like halfway done, if even. Outside of those, I have some neat sketches from chem which I've been meaning to upload, and blah blah.

Feel free to check out my livestream at www.livestream.com/yxanr . I have more streams now, and am kind of getting into the streaming process. Once I knock a few things out of the way, I'll be able to stream more, and even give people heads up to watch me live and talk to me while I draw.
Yes, a new journal so soon.

I have been drawing and stuff. Regrettably, I've not been able to record all my work on my latest comic page, but that's because a lot of my work is done while doing school work, so the recording would be filled math problems and government essays with short drawing breaks. Part of the reason I'm posting this journal is to assure everyone that I indeed am drawing despite the lack of updates.

Another reason for this journal is to say that the second chapter of Catastrophic Biohazard (I'm going to start using the correct spelling) is going to look a lot different than the first due to being in digital. Because it's in digital, I'm able to do a lot more with it (including color!) so getting each page done is going to take more time. But hopefully as I do more pages and get more practice, I'll be able to push out better quality pages faster. Anyway, look forward to the summer when I start posting more CB.

I'll probably post some sketches from chem when I get the chance too, or you know, whenever I get around to it...
Ok, so I kind of stopped drawing again. But it's ok, I'm still busy, but I'm gunna draw anyway, cuz everything I'm busy with sucks, so hah. Take that, everything I'm busy with.

So yeah. Ok, first thing: I'm starting to draw the second chapter of CB. I plan to get a bit ahead on drawing it so I can update more frequently, so expect it to post probably some time at the end of the school year or the beginning of summer.

Second thing: I have a livestream now, so if you want to see me draw stuff, I will be livestreaming every chance I get (which is almost never) and I am saving recordings of everything too. So go check it out, it's at www.livestream.com/yxanr/ where I already have a couple recordings up. Nothing special, but it's there.

That's basically my life as it relates to DA. The end.