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MegaTokyo Visual Novel

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< Piro >

emo largo (shudder - what a concept :P) by Hawk and Ananth at Applegeeks

"resurfacing"

Thursday - February 22, 2007

[Piro] - 16:27:00 - [link here]

Hey folks, believe it or not, i'm still alive. Sort of. i think.

Last time i posted a rant was January 10th. Things have been extremely busy for me since then, and not everything has worked out the way i had hoped (obviously). I suppose it was the fact that after getting through the Christmas rush, i felt relaxed about having that workload off my shoulders and the remaining work for book 5 looked like it would be a piece of cake :P It's pretty obvious that some my plans did not pan out the way i had hoped, but it wasn't because it was unrealistic, i just had a lot of things come up unrelated to MT and the book that i had to deal with. Luckily, i think MT chapter 8 ended pretty well, and i'm not really that far behind. I'm tired, but I'm getting there.

I found myself tweakng more pages in this book than i have done in previous books. I have three comics that i am adding frames to, adding one comic to chapter 8, one comic i have to re-scan and rebuild, and a multitude of tweaks and little changes that i felt were necessary to make things flow better.

The comic i'm adding to Chapter 8 is right after Yuki looks down to see the boy looking up at her. From a story perspective i do not really need to add a comic here, but i wanted to nudge the remaining pages so that the left/right pairing of the last 10 pages or so worked better. These kinds of things you don't really see till you start assembling the book, and are not an issue on the website. Sometimes you want to have the reader not see what is coming next till he or she turns the page, and i found that a lot of the last batch of pages needed to be shifted to get the correct R/L orientations. Luckily it worked out so that i just had to add a page, and since i was able to finish the chapter one page short of my plan, it was easy to do.

It's weird, but there were only two OSE comics in the past two chapters. So rather than doing a new Seraphim Check for the end of this chapter, i'm placing one of the OSEs instead. We're still going to do a Seraphim Check before the next chapter starts, but not till after i am done with the book.

There are three comics that have some rather substantial changes, requiring the addition of a frame. I'm doing this to make them read better and while it will involve tweaking dialogue, etc, it doesn't change the story content in any appreciable way. There are also a few comics where i've changed an expression to better match the flow of the particular sequence, etc, but once again its not a major change. There are two comics that i flipped in order to make the scene transition work better. There are some small changes i knew i was going to make, that have to do with the difference between reading the comic online and reading in a book. When you post a comic online and its 2 or 3 days till the next one, sometimes you can't really leave things hanging (for instance, in comic 943, Piro says 'i better get back to the store." which i felt needed to be there to make it clear that piro kept on walking. In the book, its pretty clear that piro didnt stop, so i eliminated that and tweaked his dialogue to something simpler). Those are the kinds of changes that really pinpoint the difference between online reading one page at a time and the flow in a book, and aren't really that major.

It's not unusual for me to look at a comic from a previous chapter and think that its not as good as i would have liked, or that the dialogue isn't quite spot on. I usually leave it or tweak it slightly, because i don't like changing things unless i have to. There is one comic in this book that i felt really did need to be changed. It has bothered me since i did it, because something about it never felt right -- Comic 763 - "Perfect." It's like half way through the comic i stopped following where this i wanted this particular comic to go. The pep talk nature of it seemed odd and out of place. Last night i reworked frames 4, 5 and 6 to revise the tail end of Erika's response to what it probably should have been in the first place. It ties in much better with the remainder of the chapter, and the story in general. Here's the revised version, which will be replacing the current version in a few weeks. I'll probably also revise the online versions of the other 3 or 4 comics that i've made substantive changes to, not because they change the story but because they do read better with the changes.

The last leg of getting this book done is to pull all this extra material together and assemble it for the book. I've been getting some help from two friends who are also avid MT fans and have a head for details. The extra material is shaping up to be 9 pages of character bio, a story timeline, a real life timeline (history of MT), and various other notes and other little tidbits. Some of this and other material will end up as part of the long missing 'story and character' section here on the website. I'm working on new drawings and sketches for each of the characters listed, but i may have to reuse some old drawings as well, we'll see.

My main focus this week is finishing up this book, and i appreciate your patience with having this week be comic-free (except for a SGD, which dom says he will be torturing you with tonight). Next week, if all goes well, i'll be diving into an Omake that i hope you all will enjoy. I'd like to say it will be monday, but i think that realistically it will be Wednesday (since my deadline is Tuesday). Hawk, who did a lot of the pre-processing for me on the bulk of the pages for the book (thanks hawk!) also did a rather amusing gift art around the idea Ananth had as to how an Emo Largo might look :P. I've also demanded a Cute Happy Piroko like the one he did at Katsukon for the Iron Artist competition.

That's enough blathering for today, time to get back to work. Thanks for your support!

< Dom >

DAAAAAAAAAAH

"Slowing down"

Monday - March 19, 2007

[Dom] - 17:45:00 - [link here]

Given the way my life has been shaping up recently, it figures that it'd take a sick day for me to start ranting again. I've been bouncing around from project to project lately, and it seems like MT suffers when I don't know what to do with my time. I have to up it on my priority list, though. I think that it should at least be higher on my priority list than "lie on the couch and try not to cough up a lung."

It's not that I haven't had free time, mind you - just that I've been low on energy after my free time gets sucked up by various projects. And hell, I still haven't done my taxes.

So where do I start? I guess the best place is to pick up where I left off, a week and a half ago at the Game Developers Conference. It had been a pretty stressful week at work, so I was really glad for the day off. I originally hoped to take the bus down to downtown San Francisco, but my parking plan was thwarted by inconviently scheduled street cleaning by my cousin's house. I was forced to spend fifteen bucks on parking in downtown San Francisco - which was equivalent to an hour's work prancing around in spandex.

I'm sure many of you were hoping that I'd have plenty of wild stories about the crazy sights I saw on the GDC floor, but after I met up with my friend and got my pass to wander the convention, my only priority was finding breakfast. It being a Friday in Lent, I had to wander a while to find a place that had vegetarian breakfasts, so that took up a good chunk of my time.

Besides - there's just not that much of interest at GDC. It's a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, like transaction systems and physics engines.

So, when I got back to my friend's booth to take my turn in a mocap suit, I was well fed and pretty damn bored. It wasn't long before they handed me what looked like a diving suit rigged with Christmas lights, and they sent me into the bathroom to change. While I was suiting up, I had one of those moments where I try and look at myself from the outside. There I was, half-naked in a San Francisco bathroom. And what did I think?

"Crap, I should've brought a roll of quarters."

The next three hours were an absolute blast. After they calibrated the cameras on me, they mapped my movements to some sort of rhino in tighty whities, and it was fascinating to watch the thing writhe around arrhythmically as I busted out my best Asian dance moves (AKA writhed around arrhythmically). Of course, given the fact that I was being rendered, the nerd in me wouldn't let me get away without doing some silly moves, so I busted out the idolm@ster dances along with every special move from the Street Fighter II that's possible to replicate.

A few minutes later, I realized one big problem with being in a spandex suit covered in lights: for whatever reason, they had given me a rubber floor to cavort on. I built up truly insane amounts of static charge by jumping around wearing a battery pack. The first time I even approached another human being, there was a loud snapping noise and both of us shouted in surprise as the electricity found somewhere to go. The second time, I was a little more prepared for it, and we both flinched a little before making contact. The third time, I felt silly and said "If you will not be turned... you will be destroyed!" before making force lightning motions and zapping the crap out of my unsuspecting friends. Two and a half hours passed like this, with me jumping around like an idiot and electrocuting people on the side.

At the end of the day, one developer came by and wanted to see what would happen were I to breakdance. I was curious myself, so he came into the camera area and started showing me some basic moves, which I found at once awesome and incredibly dangerous. With all the shuffling around I was doing, I figured that I was going to kill everyone around me in one giant, glorious discharge of lightning. However, I wasn't destined for anything so spectacular, so all I got out of it was free breakdancing lessons and one last chance to zap my buddies.

Anyway, my three hours in a motion capture suit were incredibly satisfying, and some day I'll get around to posting select pictures of me being a dork in spandex. I highly recommend the experience!

What else is up in my life? Well, the ever-present spectre of WoW hangs over my free time, but my current projects are doing my taxes (oh, what joy awaits me there...) and rearranging all the crap in my place into some measure of organization. Two bookshelves later, my ten-deep pile of books in a corner (I called it the Pit of Despair) has turned into some measure of order and happiness, while my Table for Random Crap has been turned into some blissfully empty space so I can stretch out. A few toys have also been taken out of storage and put on top of the shelves, which may or may not have been another big reason I bought the bookshelves...

But enough of that! I still have to get a new TV stand and clean my room, and at some point I have to do my taxes.

I'll let you know if more random craziness pops up.

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