small note to anyone that might’ve sent me emails this month: gmail has given me issues with my spam folder and I’m having to go back and comb through it all to resolve them (that’s a lot of mail to scan) please don’t feel bad about emailing me again to make sure I got a copy, but if not I ought to have tracked down all wayward mail within the next few days.
Terrible things: Order AU Chloe and Talbot + Charlie stuck in the middle of a painfully heated disagreement between the two.
It’s quiet; the calm before the storm in the back of that long, sleek black town car. Cutter can practically hear the space someone will soon be very angry in -like the smell of ozone before it rains.
Absolutely no one speaks on drive from the airstrip so the only sound is the vibration of the car’s wheels on the pavement. If he closed he eyes, he would know instinctively where they were by the sound of asphalt, paving stones, cobblestone, back to asphalt. He spends the whole trip to the underground carefully constructing and dismissing escape routes he’ll take once they’ve reached their destination; the closer they get, the more knotted his stomach becomes. He can’t quite pinpoint why.
There’s things to be done, which is how he’ll excuse himself. He’ll point out that he’s got two chapters to cipher through by tomorrow afternoon and he doesn’t have time to play witness to whatever knock out, drag down fight Talbot and Frazer are planning to have. Charlie thinks, very secretly - the smallest thought so it won’t show anywhere on his face - that he might try to slip away and call Nate. Hell, Sully even.
—(It’s early enough in the day. There’s no reason to think they won’t answer this time.)—
But when the car’s parked, Frazer slides out of the sedan’s backseat like a snake dropping from a branch. She waits until they’re all outside the car before she says, almost dismissively, “Well that went well,” to Talbot across the top of the car.
A muscle in the man’s cheek jumps as he sets his jaw. He closes the sedan door and moves around the rear bumper of the car. Charlie follows him with his eyes from where he’s standing at Frazer’s heel (which is a matter of happenstance, not habit) but that doesn’t actually make him prepared for when Talbot rounds to their side and casually, like he’s been thinking about it since before they even left Singapore, grabs him by the throat and forces him back against the side of the car.
"Talbot!" Frazer shouts, but only because Talbot has a knife. In the pause her voice breeds, Charlie punches Talbot so hard he can feel the shock of it go right up through his knuckles and elbow, lodging in his shoulder.
It gets Talbot off him anyway.
"What the fuck’s that all about?" Charlie demands, closing in on him as Talbot staggers back. His nose is bleeding. There’s blood all over his mouth and chin, staining the collar of his expensive, pressed, beautiful white shirt.
Talbot’s looking at him, but then he’s not: he’s looking past him, across his shoulder to where Frazer likely still is. He drops the knife, spreads his hands. Lets his nose bleed freely. “You did nothing, Cutter,” he says. Charlie doesn’t know if it’s a personal attack or not - some comment on his character or how he performed on the job (and he did well, hadn’t he? Fucking hell, he’d smashed that poor bastard’s face in because he’d been told to and if that isn’t enough to earn some respect, to earn some trust, he doesn’t know what is). Whatever it is, it’s offensive so he goes for him: reaches for the lapels of Talbot’s jacket. He’s going to get him under his arm, punch the side of his head until the man sags. He shouldn’t have dropped the knife, Cutter thinks.
Frazer’s needle lodging in the side of his neck stings. He winces, nose wrinkling. Lip pulling back. He twists away from under her hand and Talbot steps out of the way so he won’t get caught by Charlie’s shoulder.
There’s a moment there, taking three steps back from them, that Charlie can almost close his hands on something - how the taste in his mouth is familiar, how his neck’s peppered with small scars he’s convinced himself was a bad fall on gravel or something like it, but then it’s sliding away and his fists are empty. He slowly lowers himself, breathing heavy - crouches to touch the ground and steady himself off it. Or off the sedan’s bumper. The driver must still be there, the keys still in the ignition. The tail lights are still on.
The red glows hot on his skin. He squints past it as Frazer moves in, looking past her to where Talbot is mopping at his bloody nose with his sleeve.
"That was stupid," Talbot says.
Frazer’s hand falls on the back of Cutter’s neck, heavy like a something he’d need a key to get out of. Yes,” she bites back. “It was.”
Charlie gets the distinct feeling she’s not talking to him.
"But Abby, have you even played Broshep?" Yes, though to be fair not all the way through to the end of ME3 and my default argument is because I feel that Jennifer Hale really does do such a superior job to Broshep’s VA that it seems ridiculous to do anything BUT play Shepard as female. But there are other reasons for it too like how I think it’s significant that you can choose to make whatever kind of Shepard you want, and how amazing it is to have a female character cast as the hero in a science fiction epic. How having Shepard be a she creates all these wonderful storytelling opportunities that feel fresh and re-purposed. How, in a game about the cyclical nature of history and how small changes can radically shift context, a female cast in the traditionally male protagonist’s role in a story about duty and honor and self sacrifice and the lengths to which a person goes to save a universe that doesn’t necessarily love or respect them at all times is not only extremely special in terms of ‘noteworthy female characters in video gaming’ ways, but also really exciting in terms of character reflecting core narrative storytelling elements.
Hoo boy. That is a rough question to start with, namely because in my opinion 2 & 3 are on some very equal ground. I’ll start by saying despite my love of 2, there were areas where it was deeply lacking, and despite the beautiful story in 3, visually I have some heavy issues.
I’m gonna go through and thank you all once I have the time, but seriously, thank you guys for the wishes and kind words; they mean so much to me right now. I know I’m not around as much as I’d like to be, but I appreciate the chance to be a part of your lives and for all the interactions (direct or indirect) that we have.
her name is avali & she is my best friend!! i have known her for five years and throughout that span of time she has been unfaltering in her kindness and support. she’s the kind of friend who hugs you when you need it — but who tells the truth when you need that, too.
i’ve spent so many nights doubting myself, crying in fear and misery, and avali has always been there to hold my hand. she makes a person feel wanted, talented, and interesting, and she gives out encouragement wherever and whenever she can.
we’ve done a lot together, baby girl. no matter happens, you can always call on me. i love you. thank you for bringing so much beauty into my life.
Lyn I don’t know what to say I love you so much…;; Whatever I’ve done for you, you’ve done for me twice over and I will never forget that. You’re my best friend and thank you, so much, for everything.
Sometimes it’s so easy to get swept up in worrying about the big picture that you forget to enjoy the moment. I hope you all remember to enjoy right now, and the fact that there are always people in this world who care about you.
He can’t pinpoint the exact moment when his opinion changed. Initially, he hadn’t known what to think of the voice on the radio, and he knew even less when that voice suddenly said his name. And kept saying it, often accompanied by words rarely applied to him—or anyone—so publicly; words of hyperbolic adoration; words typically confined to a diary with a heart-shaped lock and a secret place under the bed. The dreams of a teenager, sighed to the entire population.
Carlos listened to these Trapper Keeper exaltations while working in his lab. Night Vale teemed with samples to analyze: scales from a lizard dropped by the glow cloud; skin cells from a man with a sentient rash; a feather from one of the angels. A scrap of fabric from the hood of a hooded figure, found snagged on the fence of the dog park and quickly snatched up when the wind pulled it free. Carlos had that scrap locked in a black, steel reinforced box; it hummed irritably at him whenever he tried to handle it.
I’m getting set up with a side blog— something less personal and more official for reporting opinions on games, art, designs and the like— and I figured that this is a great opportunity to hear what sorts of things you would like to hear me chit chat about. (Game opinions, concept art, industry information or the process of how art is pieced together, convention reports for things like Blizzcon, etc etc) I’d also be willing to share step by step tutorials on how I work if that’s something that seems interesting, in addition to resources and reference materials for my fellow art students/ enthusiasts.
So if you have any opinions on it, I’d love to hear them, and if not, well, that’s all right; I’ll let it slide just this once.
Also don’t forget that I am much easier to touch base with and talk to via my Twitter (bless you, reliable Twitter notifications) and that I’ll be hosting a tiny contest at the beginning of next month!
Carlos stands before the door, thinking. It’s a standard issue door, by all accounts: made of oak, carved with simple panels, nicked and weather-beaten in some places. The door is not covered with esoteric sigils, smears of dried blood, or vague warnings scrawled in a dead language. It is merely a door, the kind a person might expect on any number of residential American streets.
But Carlos is in the desert, the neighborhood only of small skittering lizards and distant, howling coyotes. There’s a cactus about three feet to the left of him, and a bird he can’t categorize – a vulture, maybe, but much smaller and with several more talons than usual – perches on top of it. The bird stares at Carlos with intense, expectant interest.
The doorknob isn’t anything special, either. It is exactly what anyone would imagine, were they to picture the average doorknob. It is not ornate, it is not crafted from ancient, ominously glowing metal. Carlos notes that there’s no apparent keyhole on either side of the door; that, in fact, he cannot tell which way the thing opens at all.
Numerous chains are looped around the door, placed there by the farmer, John Peters. Carlos thinks he could remove them without much trouble.
The wind unsettles the sand around his shoes (sensible boots in a drab color; appropriate for desert walks), kicks up an eddy that scatters sand grains across the lapel of his lab coat. This wind is the only sound in his ears.
I’d like to say first and foremost that these commissions will be slow while I finish up school (1-2 months), but if you don’t mind bearing with me, I am offering 20 slots for 15$ black and white bust sketches 25$ color character bustsAND, making a comeback after forever and a day, full illustrations!
Just a small notice that as I am finishing the last few commissions from last session, I will be reopening commissions later tomorrow after the last set is completed— and this time both full commissions and sketch commissions with be available for purchase!
Thanks to everyone for being so patient with me while I work through school and travel, and for all your support and kind words. :) <3
((unimportant sidenote: I also joined that horribly addictive dragon game Flight Rising, and though I don’t really have time to play, if anyone would like to add me my account is here! Ten points to anyone that can accurately guess where all my dragon names came from.))
I can’t stress this enough: there’s going to be spoilers for both Telltale’s The Walking Dead and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us in this post. This is also going to be really TL;DR so uh. Sorry.
So I think there’s this is a really rich ground for comparison here (and we could bring Bioshock Infinite into this discussion as well due a lot of elements in that game, but to save room I won’t - though if you’ve played that then maybe consider these ideas as you read this?) when thinking about video games with a strong story element and how gameplay can emphasize certain motifs or ideas within the narrative itself. So let’s talk about similarities first: both Telltale’s The Walking Dead and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us are zombie stories.
(—If you’re about to crawl up my ass about TLoU not featuring ‘actual zombies’ feel free but also please go google some zombie/body horror media history. I’d really recommend checking out White Zombie (the 1932 film, not the band) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (it’s a fucking awful, though formative, book) and maybe even take another look at Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and think about zombies as both monsters and a storytelling device with which to explore certain social fears of the time when the narratives were released—)
So right. They’re both zombie stories. They both feature a quest that drives the momentum of the story. In TWD’s case, you could argue it’s either trying to find a safe haven or trying to find Clementine’s parents or maybe even just ‘trying to do what’s best for Clementine’ although in terms of what is the most satisfying and most relevant from a narrative perspective, I tend to think first and foremost about trying to find Clem’s parents. It’s certainly the ‘quest’ most central to her character and therefore subsequently defines much of Lee’s journey as well. In TLoU, the quest is to escort Ellie to the Fireflies and develop a vaccine/cure/whatever the science is borked anyway for the cordycep fungi. Both feature travel; both largely deal with the wilderness; both stories are told over a long period of time. Hell, there’s even some details that are almost exactly the same (when the prologue of TLoU has you kick your way out of the wrecked shamble of Tommy’s truck, my roommate turned to me and said, ‘The Walking Dead got really lucky that it came out first’. Add that to cannibals, ‘who’s worse: the people or zombies?’ thematic ideas, etc, etc— well you get a whole lot of points of similarity). Both games feature and older father figure as the player character (mostly) who is responsible for escorting a younger female character to a desired destination.
Photoshop. That’s it. I love SAI but I can’t work in large resolutions with it, and in PS CS6 I can use a blender brush to achieve the gorgeous watercolor blending I’ve adored SAI for in the past. Plus it’s just an industry standard. My preferences are my preferences, but at the end of the day I need to train myself to be proficient with what I’ll be using in the future. Also I suck with Painter.