“Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.” ― William S. Burroughs

I'm going to write about my current addiction here, this goddamned game called fallout 4.  Not that I wanted to write about this nonsense but It has been occupying a large swath of my time (much like I knew it would: Thanks Alan :P). Perhaps this post will provide a lengthy explanation for my current addiction.

I realise that what this actually boils down to is PUSHING BITS OF LIGHT AROUND IN AN IMAGINARY WORLD. The term I think is: Fruitless endeavor.  I get that. However, I will attempt to justify this activity to hopefully regain merit for this behavior.

As with all my other posts, I put this shit live and will be updating as I goddamn feel like it. Spell check and grammar correction TK (possibly). Oh and of course the point to this post...well I'll get to that.

Heres what I have been up to re:

 

Fans of this game will know what I'm on about, for those who aren't familiar with these types of games (minecraft, skyrim, second life...etc)...I'll give a explanation on these later, or maybe I wont. Who knows..."as is my want". 

Draft: (BTW...I know this is live...this is my thought process)

Addiction comes in many forms. Is this an addiction? Am I talking about the whole notion of videogames as an addiction? No. That ground has been covered pretty extensively with no real answers. If there was; you can bet your ass the powers that be would have slapped a schedule c (or whatever it is they call "dangerous" pharmaceuticals) on it.

What I am talking about here is a very specific subset of the videogame genre. Namely "player home" construction.  This is where the player can fabricate a unique home or base station from which to play an open world type of game.  Few games do this really well. Fallout 4, IMHO does this with great aplomb. Its not perfect - with its glitches, long load times and learning curve.  However having a unique and simple construction set and play mechanics - this game is the best of breed so far. The sheer numbers of players, subscribers on youtube watching other players build things, and the large community of twitch videos and mod content(where clever players have built expansions/new content) has me convinced that this is a new and distinct type of gaming experience.

The fact that this game can be experienced and configured  completely differently by each player is not new. The level of community engagement and player created content is, to me reminiscent of the half-life community just before STEAM was introduced. 

Why am I talking about this on my blog instead of submitting this to the bethesda(makers of Fallout 4) forum site or IGN? 

Because whether you believe this or not - this is art. 

I'll explain more later, or grab me an demand I explain myself. Oops gotta go, expand on this later...or not. 

 

 

Concept art

Concept art. The concept is, they will pay you for your art. 

…the reality:  it's the JOB that's the concept. Case in point, this lovely series I had the misfortune of dragging into reality from the recesses of my fetid imagination.  But first here’s how that particular job came into light.

Responding to an ad for an illustrator in craigslist ny. Not so much a desperation move - I do this from time to time…you luck into some great work that way. To be fair, it does sometimes feel like this scene from (link: Flash Gordon. )



Well, this project did not culminate into a tribal space ritual involving tree scorpions. In a way I wish it had, that would have been kinda fun. This was the opposite of fun....anyway, this is how it began.

The ad: 
Looking for illustrator to work on sci-fi concept art for hot new tablet app!  Must be clean vector work. Writing in a realistic - rpg style a big plus. Pay plus royalties.

While suspiciously terse, it was almost too good to pass up. My head was already filling up with notions of epic space battles involving regiments of these maniac space beings.

I mean App commissions are like pots of gold, how was I gonna pass that up? Was almost wetting my pants thinking how my awesome work would be received. I would be compensated by a distracted internet Midas nonchalantly waving to stacks of cash and stock options (I imagine him talking like Biggie Smalls), “Ugh…yeah. Twist dat Cabbage son.”

Fat Stacks! I’m in…I always wanted to do this…I was ready. Create an entire universe for these savage things to inhabit...got it.  Detailed backstories for character classes...ok.  Descriptive inventory information of various weapons...sure thing.  Large swaths of my life spent on pushing video game rpg characters around on gaming consoles had given me all the fuel I needed to start crafting my own little pixelated universe.

Armed with that and years of online job hunting prose I crafted my most subtle and poised job ad response.

This was no mere “Hi, my name is blank, Im an illustrator.  I have worked with/for blah blah blah…resume…blah blah please consider me for your project blah.” This was a scientifically formulated response engineered through copious editing and revisions to affect an almost pavlovian response“…yes, I would love to have you work on this project!”.

The response:

You sir/madam, are fortunate. 
(this brash statement - with the sir/madam modifier will appeal to their sense of humor and if not present will at the least keep them reading onto the next sentence.) 

My highly lauded services are open for a project as exciting as this.
(part praise, part continued boast - all still keeping their attention, and piquing their further interest with that highly lauded bit) 

You will find my work experience @ www.gilosan.com. (This sentence is fabricated as a hypnotic power of suggestion - they WILL find my site. You see how I did that?)

Thats it. Simple, brief and interesting.  Dare you not to look at my website after reading that. Anyway…worked like a charm. They contacted my next day.

Truthfully, I doubt it was the prose and I know when I was hiring for designers in my last position - I remembered that sifting through volumes of resumes was a serious pain in the ass. Simple email with a link ALWAYS got my response- I didn't have to read much, it was like a gift. (BTW - helps tremendously if your work is good). That's not ego - its FACT. If I came across sucky work...your clever alliterations mean dick.

Their Reply:
Gilosan,
We love your work! Please send us 2 character class art with backstory and some weapons and we'll go from there.

Off and running, two days of effort spilled out of my carpal tunneled wrists via adobe illustrator and my sketchbook to this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 4.17.05 PM.png

Returned email correspondence:

Hey (Guy who gave me the job),
Here is a draft of the concept Uf F-Troop: back story as well as some weapons.

uF F-Troop Heavy Infantry Division “Brush Cleaners”
Cast: Ibererate (generally it is this cast that serve in the F-Troop)
Weight: 720-750 uL(united letrons)
Height: 52-57 uMPD(united micron planar distance)
Rank: Elite Infantry

The “Brush Cleaners” have been in the uF service for over 50 uTCC . These troops are among the most feared units of the uF ground battalion. Highly motivated and disciplined, they serve with fanatical loyalty and charge headlong into battle seemingly impervious to pain and fatigue. Rigid training and fierce exercise regiments keep these seemingly rotund fighters in top shape. The development of the F-Troops physique is largely due to the specific diet and training they receive, their girthy statures belie the battle hardened musculature beneath their armor. They are among the strongest physical specimens of the uF, the most specialized of these go on to the uF highly decorated “Bezerker Brigade”, famous for never losing a battle on any hostile territory during the massacre on Valis Nebulas Titras Moon and in total earning no less than 52 uF icons of distinction. Brutish and thug-like in mannerisms and style of warfare, they are sent in first to “soften” the enemy for later divisions. They're implementation is called for whenever ther is need for immediate and overwhelming force. They are not meant for surgical and controlled authority over an enemy. They exist to hammer the opposition to relent as quickly as possible. As the sole survivor of Thalius Harkken put it, “...when we looked on the horizon and saw that swath of green fury that was (the F-Troop) our commander said but one thing...hunker down boys, they’ve just sent in our deaths...”

sample weapon description:

So yeah, that was the submission.  Couple o' sleepless nights went into those.

Seems like a good starting point, no? I could actually see the 2d pixelated art characters delivering devastating status effect and HP damage to each other on ipad screens across the globe. The gravy train with biscuit wheels was en route!

Then, no response for two maddening weeks, and after my 3rd battery of emails inquiring to the status of the project, I get this infuriating hard bounce notice:

user@hotmail.com>: host mail7.hotmail.com said:
550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable 

"Shit...damn...muthafucka"(yes I'm quoting Maxwell) Craigslist job posting has burned me again! Jeebus! What the hell was I thinking? I shoulda gotten a more concrete communication with this  invisible bastard before I started drafting pages of notes on uF Universe canon. Phone number, website addy, mailing address - something. Shit! Mostly disheartening was the instant evaporation of "assured" financial success! Damn, no fat stacks!

Lesson? No lesson. This kinda shit happens.  Just a little more wary and cautious before I go headlong into a project like this.

Although who am I kidding? This is my modus operandi. As my brother put it..."Man, you like to go FACE FIRST into EVERYTHING! Don't ya?"

Goddamn Craigslist Fake-bait Project got me again. I feel ya pain Peter Duncan...well probably not.

Dammit! What the hell I do that for!

Dammit! What the hell I do that for!



To hell with trying to write a sci-fi novel.

<Alt Title>: Not as easy as you think...or as easy as I thought. Shit.

Verdant by Gilosan Watanabe

My first serious attempt at writing a novel was VERDANT.  This was to be a sprawling space opera based on a planet in some distant future galaxy.  The whole planet was a thick jungle tropic zone teeming with strange beings (An entire week was spent just on the morphology of these things*. The predominant life forms evolved from what could be referred to as amphibians... or reptiles (honestly couldn’t decide which- my feeling was… whichever looked better on the cover).

The Lesser Balfarin Ccyx, side note: the Greater Balfarin Ccyx is a total DICK!

The Lesser Balfarin Ccyx,
side note: the Greater Balfarin Ccyx is a total DICK!

VERDANT would be the main stage in a epic drama of several other neighboring and similar planets, each with their own intelligent evolved creatures. Mostly humanoid all tied to each other by the need for a rare material found only on the main planet. Story, which would closely follow the subtle interplay of several ruling social factions, would highlight the struggle or power and control over all these planets.

The many groups would bring with them a litany of sub-factions, religions and disciplines, which would enrobe the characters highlighted.  From merchant classes and royalty to religious groups and dissidents. Each would bring their own unique take on the desire for themselves or their group to be the dominant force within this cluster of worlds.

Pages upon pages were drafted, from subtle dialogue interplays that foreshadowed more important events on the horizon and large scale battles for control of specific key interests.

Characters were laboriously and carefully crafted, each caring a carefully cultivated pedigree and backstory as well as a motivation.  They would jostle and interact with each other in order to progress their individual desires. Relationships were built, battered and betrayed.

This would be my magnum opus, a story which would continuously unfold and evolve. To be eventually wrestled into media submission in the form of printed novels, action figures and finally culminate into hour long episodic masterpieces to be distributed by HBO(or at the very least AMC…honestly whomever would pay for my Ferrari). Well that was the dream.

Then I watched DUNE again for the 100th time.

You Hack!

You Hack!

Fuck…it’s basically just DUNE only instead of a vast desert, I placed these things in a goddamn swamp. Nice, my subconscious is a fucking retard. Oh, and instead of the SPICE which they were all fighting over, it was some viscous green algae …GRIS which powered everything and was valuable as hell.

Contrived plot vehicle

Contrived plot vehicle

Damn, I hate when I do that. Honestly though, there is just too much shit out there not to be influenced in some for or another - I mean what am I supposed to do READ EVERYTHING? Man, fuck that!  Let some OTHER asshole rack their brains trying to make some expansive universe.

I am DONE, if I ever decide to write a sci-fi novel, I’ll just get it vetted by a heavy hitting team of cosplay geeks who troll the Syfy channel fanboards.  Should be easy, just got to get them laid, or perhaps drug them…or both? Whatever, its been done... Artemis Fowl is basically Richie Rich...that dude is laughing all the way to the bank.

Just gonna chalk it up to another failed attempt at literary greatness...oh and don’t get me started on my space smuggler concept - Jupiter Thunderballs.


*

What the hell happened to that thing!

This was an interesting project. A friend of mine had recently come back from Nigeria and purchased several local artist paintings. They were done in acrylic and arrived rolled up.

Him: Think you can fix these? I unrolled them and they started flaking apart. I got them for my Moms.
Me: ...Yipes, they look like they been in the gullet of Sarlacc! Didn't know he was in Nigeria too. Him:  #$% you.  Can you do it.
Me: Jeez, I'd say only a masterful painting genius could fix this mess...so yes.(I am humble only when its funny- ...so rarely)
Him: These mean a lot to me, don't @#$% around.
Me: Don't worry, done this many-a-time, they are in good hands. (I had never done anything like this...seriously how hard could it be?)

_62447895_frescopic
_62447895_frescopic

Him: You da man, maestro!
Me:Yeah, you know this is gonna cost ya. (...gonna cost me if'n I screw these up...eesh.)

Ok so onto the task at hand:

After carefully unrolling them... which was like unrolling the dead sea scrolls. Think teeny tiny bits of paint flecks falling everywhere. My highly trained and detailed forensic analysis was...HOLY CRAP! These ARE partially digested!

I mean look at the state of this one (which was by and far the worst):

gilosan.com
gilosan.com

Here's a detail of the nightmare I had gotten myself involved with!

gilosan.com
gilosan.com

Trying to figure out how to repair this mess, the probable cause began to manifest itself.  The paint was applied in a very thin layer, probably to conserve pigment. So lots of water was used to extend the paint and probably speed drying time.  This is never a good idea as this greatly reduces the effectiveness of the binding agent in the paint, um...probably.

Also, he had mentioned to me that the painting was  rolled up and placed in the luggage compartment of the plane. So coming home it was exposed to some pretty cold temps as I am pretty sure that part of the plane is SIGNIFICANTLY colder than the temperature controlled passenger cabin. Combine that with the ambient air temp of Nigeria, what you get is thermal expansion/contraction that will shatter the paint surface bond. Wow, I sound like I know what I'm talking about here:)

Luckily the painting style was easy to replicate - quick broad strokes and solid colors made that part an easy match.  Picking the paint flecks off my rug and using gel medium to glue them back into place is something like a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, only much less fun.

After filling in the dead parts(flecks lost in transportation or eaten by my rug) with pigment/medium blend (what kind?..um, its proprietary and none of your business). I repainted the surface to match the original but upped the color vibrancy.  Then sealed the beast with heavy lashings of gloss gel medium...this thing is now bomb-proof! (well not really- but it can now laugh at airplane cargo storage compartments) I did manage to take a couple of liberties with the foreground, both he and I agree it looks better than the messy cloud from before.

gilosan.com
gilosan.com

He was ecstatic and I would say that it was all worth just the look on his face. But I'd be lying...it was worth the money and some of his wifes' hot sauce...which is soo damn hot it makes me weep! If you got anymore paintings to save brother, you know to call...bring more hot sauce I'm almost out!