Archive for June, 2010

WIP (Wrapped in Pork)

30 Jun

There’s been a few issues with the microphone, so today’s LP isn’t quite finished. It’ll most likely be up later.

In the meantime: the reason there’s been fewer random doodles/character sketches lately is that I’ve been working on the cover to Vatsy and Bruno. I’ve revised the thing to death, and it’s probably only half done–I want this thing to come out slick. I don’t want to show my most recent draft, but here’s a black-and-white to give you an idea where the thing’s going:

EDIT: Okay, my image uploader is giving me guff, and 2AM is not the time where I want to sort that out. Here’s a link to imageshack.

EDIT2: I thought I had the solution to the microphone issues; as it turns out, I don’t. I managed to suppress the rant, but to put it briefly, Logitech’s engineers are minions of the beast and the USB ClearChat headset is their direst weapon.


X-Com Mission Log

29 Jun

I’ve been playing a lot of X-COM lately. For those of you who’ve never heard of it, it’s a terribly old turn-based strategy game that has you manning a UFO defense force in the not-too-distant future (that is to say, 1999). It’s very realistic in the absolute worst way–each of your soldiers has a name, stats, and a rank that changes based on his successes or failures, and your soldiers die a lot. Seriously, have the time, there’s not a whole lot you can do except let a third of your team get killed just so you can figure out where the aliens are. It’s not atypical to have a guy step out of the landing craft and die before he can take his first turn. Even then, you don’t know where his killer is–your units can only see like five feet ahead, while the aliens can snipe you from clear across the map. It’s brutally unfair, but that’s just how it works.

As I played it, I caught myself talking to my troops aloud–mostly swearing at them, honestly, but also voicing my commands even as I inputted them manually. This is a credit to the game; I got into it enough that I actually kinda felt like a troop commander guiding a team of rag-tag commandos through the most FUBAR operation in history. X-COM definitely takes the “immersion through difficulty” approach of games like STALKER and Dwarf Fortress.

Anyway, I was planning to do a brief LP of it in the style of my DF saga, but FRAPS didn’t want to play nice with DOSbox, so that’s off the table for now. I did end up producing this intensely goofy demo recording; it’s a hack job, but it’s finished–and it’s the only X-COM thing I’m likely to do–so I might as well share it. I was testing out the idea of doing a one-shot video LP from the perspective of a disgruntled commander character, but since I don’t actually have the video component, I doubt I’ll go through with it.

Anyway, here’s the test audio.


In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 49)

29 Jun

In Ald-Ruhn, the wind doesn't blow, it--wait, it does that like all of the time. It's windy like a champ up in there.

When we last left our brave hero, he was finally getting what he wanted out of life: actual quantifiable success. Some say the best reward is knowing that you’ve done your job well, and so far, I’d have to agree. I mean, in theory, adequate financial compensation would be nice, but since I typically get paid barely above travel expenses to do all of this freelance murdering that’s not really on the table. My reward is that lovely warm feeling you get when you successfully complete a job (parameters for success include: the whiny NPC has stopped whining, the violent NPC is now dead, the jerkass NPC is now giving you money).

But yeah, in case you were wondering what the going rate on finding godforsaken ruins and battling necromancers singlehandedly is: two hundred and fifty drakes. The wages on getting released from prison are almost a third of that, and I’d probably make more money if I nicked all of the knickknacks in the waiting room and flogged them down the street. As a bonus, this option would not require taking two modes of fast travel and slogging my way across the countryside on foot, then hacking apart an army of skeletons at the behest of some buoyant Dunmer redneck (blueneck?), then slogging back and taking the bug-based commute from hell again. Actually, did I even make back all of my travel expenses on this job? Maybe, but when you factor in getting my sword repaired and the 31 incidental briberies that are part and parcel of every quest in this game, I probably just about broke even. Marvelous. I don’t suppose the tavern is hiring? I think I could probably handle that, as long as the customers didn’t shout and they didn’t make me clean rats out of the basement.

Whatever, let’s move on to the next job. Some Redoran dude went rogue—oh, I’m killing rogue Redoran this time, what a lovely change of pace—and now he’s heading up some highwaymen in the north. For only the sixtieth time since I started this game, I have to go into a cave and then kill some bandits inside the cave. Luckily, they’ve pinpointed the exact location of the bandits: they’re located in Sargon, which is precisely somewhere kind of north of Maar Gan, I don’t know, like, ask around or something. Translation: I want you to get out of my personal space, then stay out for as long as possible. If you being stranded out in the bitter ash-blown wastelands amidst an entire continent of violent fauna means I don’t have to smell and/or pay you for an extra week, I will do anything to make this happen.

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Jarenth’th Place

27 Jun

Since Jarenth won that web contest prize award a while back, I gave him his selection from a sample platter of prizes. He picked out the baby assassin howler monkey, and also a custom character sketch. The monkey is in the mail; the sketch, below.

He specified something Gravatar-able would be favorite, so I that’s the dimensions I stuck to. I really wasn’t sure what the hell that lapel things was supposed to be, so if you’ve got any corrections to make on that front, Jarenth, let me know and I’ll sort it out right quick.

Of course, I owe the losers custom insults, which I haven’t yet doled out. If you submitted an entry to the contest, didn’t win, and wish for your work and person to be mocked, apply below.


State of the Skarn

27 Jun

It’s 1AM and I just lost the finished version of this post, so you’ll forgive me for being a bit on the terse side.

Results of yesterday’s poll are in, and Viddler wins in a thunderous, hamlet-crushing avalanche. I was a bit surprised, to be honest–I kind of thought the longer load times and ads beforehand would have put people off, but I guess the comment thread was an attractive feature. Looks like that’s how we’ll be doing internet business, then.

To those of you who were afraid of the episodes getting too long, don’t worry too much about that. When I said “longer,” I really meant by five, maybe ten minutes–as long as it takes me to find a decent stopping point amidst the awful dialogue and ultraviolence. I’m just really bad at pacing myself properly, so it helps to have some breathing room.

No linksies or excuses this week, so let’s get straight to the CotW. This time it goes to Burke for saying something I’d like to take out of context (as is my time-honored custom).

So, is the solution “Righteous Chopstache, in the Driveway, with the Hellcar?”

Try posing this question to a doctor, slipping it into your wedding vows, or whispering it to your neighbor during a math exam. You, too, can gain a reputation for casual lunacy!


Viddler vs. YouTube Reader’s Choice Smackdown

25 Jun

Alright, here’s the deal. There’s been a lot of controversy in the comments of my video LP as to whether I should host it using Viddler or YouTube. Frankly, it doesn’t matter much to me, so I thought I’d let y’all vote on the issue. I mean, besides reading the comments, my involvement with the LP sort of ends at the part where I upload it. Since you’re the ones watching the damn thing, it should fall to you lot to pick where.

To inform your decision, here’s a rundown of pros and cons.



  • Subscriptions make it easier to follow the videos
  • Loads quicker for some
  • Updates are in easy-to-watch 10 minute bursts


  • Updates sometimes have to be cut kinda short to fit the length limit
  • Commenting is very basic
  • It gives further power to Google, who are probably going to overthrow Western civilization at some point



  • Nuanced comment thread allows you to stick annotations onto the video’s timeline
  • Episodes will probably be a bit longer, on average


  • Unskippable ads before you can watch the video
  • Loads a little more sluggishly–for me, anyway
  • No real subscription process

Anyway, I leave the decision up to you guys. Leave your vote below, and feel free to explain your preference–it’ll probably come down to sheer numbers, but a cogent argument might sway things a little bit one way or the other.


In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 48)

25 Jun

(Sorry, misplaced this post–that’s why it took so long to get up. Oh well, no harm done.)

When we last left our daring hero, he was working his way through a Necromancer’s lair that was slightly less dangerous than Disney’s Haunted Mansion. I was ostensibly working as support for a Buoyant Armiger, and indeed, we ended up splitting the workload more or less evenly. I handled all of the tasks involving:

*Killing the undead
*Securing the area
*Protecting us
*Vanquishing evil
*Taking damage
*Scouting ahead
*Flanking the enemy
*Drawing my weapon

Whereas she leapt on any situation that required:

*Spitting out one of three combat taunts
*Getting stuck on doorways
*Baring biceps
*Possessing a can-do attitude

Together, we made a good team, and an even better me-doing-everything-while-she-sort-of-shuffles-behind-me-and-talks-a-good-fight. We were like Aragorn and the gaffer, Sergeant Angel and his peace lily, La Femme Nikita and her grocery checkout boyfriend, Bruno and Vatsy—a badass duo, in that I was Bad and she was just plain Ass.

It didn’t take me long to get to the end of the tomb, a sort plush apartment space at the top of a couple staircases. There waited Whatsisface, Dunmer necromancer, apparent evil dude, and the guy whose shenanigans necessitated this mission. I’m still not sure what he was actually doing—it’s possible my ally would have informed me, if I’d expressed even the faintest smidgen of interest. It’s also possible he would have given me the pitch himself, if I hadn’t hacked him into peppersteak the instant I moved within melee range of his corpus.
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Dark Messiah on Sale

24 Jun

For those of you who said, “Oh, lawks, that Dark Messiah game looks like it might not be awful!”, the game is on sale for about seven dollars on Steam. You may or may not want to acquire it; some of you may want to buy, for example, the most awesome games ever*.

*Okay, let me qualify that. The most awesome games currently selling for 2.75 each ever.


Ruts Plays 3: Coming In This Space

23 Jun

Alright, I’ve been editing together the movie to post before I had to leave today, and it turns out that it’s like thirty seconds too long for YouTube’s standards–something I didn’t know until it was finished with the 20-minute upload process. Unfortunately, the process of trimming it would require re-editing, re-rendering, and re-uploading it–at the moment, I don’t have enough time. I’ve got no choice but to leave it for when I get back. Don’t worry, there’ll still also be a Cahmel tonight.

To those of you recommending Viddler: Yeah, I’m seriously starting to consider it.

EDIT: Here it is.

My site was down at 1AM last night, when I was working on the LPs, so I couldn’t post aught. It’ll still be a few hours before I post Cahmel, most like.


Doodly Appendages

23 Jun

I’ve got all of the footage recorded for today’s Dark Messiah LP, and most of it edited, but it’s getting too late to finish rendering and uploading it. So, I’ll post it up at some point between now and tonight’s post, probably around 2:30 my time. In the meany-o, here’s three things that resemble art to the untrained eye.

These are characters in the D&E reboot of Clue(d0). Left: Moutarde, mercenary captain, proponent of the New British Empire. Right: Dr. Plummer, specialist in electronic surveillance, hacking, and sabotage.

This isn't really anything special--just another character in my ongoing draw-bounty-hunters-and-adventurers-that-look-kind-of-ugly campaign.

This may or may not have anything to do with a future project.