Graphite & Charcoal

Most of you know that I’ve never really gotten into traditional art mediums like drawing and painting. As a kid I started in the digital realm and got comfortable there, but honestly, I could really feel a hole in my artistic skills that needed to be filled. So when I took a drawing class this semester, I was nervous but excited, and I’m pretty happy the development that I’ve experienced in that area. Here are a few of my drawings from this semester.

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Emergence

A slightly surrealist mix of photography and 3D modeling, definitely inspired by the style of Anberlin’s music video for “Unstable.”

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Rural

Some photos I forgot about.

Under a Falling Sky

Doodling around today.

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Why Even Non-Gamers Should Play Firewatch

Simply put, it plays like a book. A book with gorgeous visuals, and in which you play one of the main parts. You really don’t need any “gamer” skills–there’s no button mashing, no combat, no crafting, nothing really “traditional” in the gameplay mechanics of Firewatch. It’s part of a genre labeled “walking simulators” because, to be honest, a lot of the mechanics of the game revolve around going from place to place, talking, and picking up stuff. Sound boring? Far from it.

Firewatch is a first-person story-driven game set in 1989 in the forests of Wyoming. You play as Henry, a middle aged guy who has some really painful stuff in his life–real, heartfelt pain. I won’t spoil the introduction for you, but it’s a masterfully choice-driven component of the game that really makes you invest in Henry as a person.

As a way of escape from his life, Henry takes a summer job as a fire lookout in Wyoming, where his only human contact is a women named Delilah, his boss, to whom he talks through a handheld radio. The tale quickly dives into a gripping mystery, but its true beauty lies in the conversations between Henry and Delilah (honestly, it really says a lot about a game when the left and right triggers on the controller are mapped to the radio/dialogue control). Delilah frequently chats with you, and you, as Henry, can radio Delilah over a myriad of large and small things, and the branching dialogue gives you satisfying control over how Henry approaches those verbal encounters. The writing is spot-on, the voice acting is perfect, and the interactions feel so genuine and real. It’s an emotionally refreshing experience, because unlike many female game protagonists, Delilah, even as a disembodied voice, feels like a real person, with agency and depth (similar to Ellie from The Last of Us).

Firewatch contains M-rated content (primarily in the form of strong language from the two protagonists), but it is truly a mature game in the best possible sense–that is, emotionally. It’s a game about messed up humans, loss, love, loneliness, and responsibility, and it deals deftly with those themes.

Some people were disappointed by the resolution of the mystery and the end of the game, but frankly? They were actually pretty much perfect. The ending hurt. It really did. But it felt right. It fit.

Aside from the brilliance of its story, dialogue, and voice-acting, it’s a distinctly beautiful game with rich, stylized landscapes to explore, and a simple yet exquisitely beautiful soundtrack.

So if you’re in the mood for a deep, beautiful, heartfelt journey–whether you’re a gamer or not–I’d highly recommend picking up this game, particularly while it’s on sale. It clocks in at about four hours, so is certainly on the shorter side for its price, but the developers nailed the timing and it’s worth every cent.

Antique Diner – WIP

– WIPI had been slacking off on my 3D projects lately, but without the stress of school I have begun to press on with them again. My current one is an antique diner, which eventually will (in my immediate, tentative plan) appear run down and deserted (with only the letters “D-I-E” lit up on the sign. Heheh), and I’ve finished the majority of the basic exterior modeling. Figured that was worth an update, so here you go.

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Wooden Scars

[I realized I never did write an “end of the school year” post, but I did indeed survive, and this past school year has possibly been the best of my life–so many things went right, and I’m really thankful for that, and for the community that I have found in Oklahoma. Looking forward to next year!]

I am fond of old benches.

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Storm the Night

We had a pretty fantastic storm the other night, which afforded some cool photographic opportunities.

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[even bricks can bleed]

This is slightly darker than my usual work, but I really like the way it turned out.

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Three cheers for survival.

“This was a triumph, I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.” – Portal, Still Alive

(“Aperture Science–we do what me must because we can. For the good of all of us, except the ones who are dead.”)

Well, I did it–I survived my first semester of college without getting mauled by a tiger (or any other ferocious beast). And not only survived, but also thoroughly enjoyed it. Honestly, I have absolutely zero regrets about going to OU. The choice to go so far away was a big one, but it’s helped me grow a lot in my faith and personality. Not to say there haven’t been a couple difficult spots, but overall the transition has been unbelievably smooth.

I’ve made wonderful friends in an amazing environment–people who have readily accepted me into their communities and groups and helped me grow in many ways. It’s also pretty great to find new people as quirky as I am (yay for quirkiness).

And hey, I’ve also learned that I love Latin. So that’s cool. Yay for reading ancient writing.

To all my OU friends: see you guys in a month! Have fantastic Christmases. ^.^

It’s also great to be back home! It’s a little weird, but great. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself for a whole month. Actually I do, I have a vague list of things to accomplish, but it still feels odd. To all my good friends here in Wisconsin, we should meet up and get coffee. Coffee is a delightful beverage to catch up over (and it’s okay if you don’t like coffee. You can get tea or hot chocolate. Scandalous, right? :o).

And to all you TPSers with whom I have not talked in an awful long time, we need to catch up as well.

So yeah. I’m still alive and basically just wanted to do a end-of-semester post. Farewell for now, my friends.