We’ve been away for a while, but that doesn’t meant that work on the game has ceased (it does mean that we’ve joined a gym, though -___-). I’ve mentioned before that I thought that some of our early characters needed a re-working. The first to receive such treatment was our own MC Ren, if you recall.



I mean, he’s just immensely better – though I tried to keep the spirit of him the same. But my experience with MangaStudio and my greater practice drawing certainly helped.

Taya was similarly redesigned.

wpid-taya.png Taya-Normal


And we won’t even get into Arinnel.

The next candidates, though, were certainly Axel and Kai. Let’s take a look at them as you currently know them:

Axel-Normal kai normal


Now, even between the two of them you can start to notice a difference of quality. I don’t think I had a standard pen nib size selected yet, so Axel’s lines are a lot thicker than Kai’s. I didn’t have the color blend too down as well when I drew Axel. I overall just wasn’t as practiced – though I gotta say, that’s a killer scarf that Kai is sporting.

A few other things is that I did really individualize each character’s clothing. But I thought more about it, and as soldiers in a military organization, there needs to be some continuity.



I mean, Rinnek’s armor is somewhat similar to Ren’s, and Anders’ is a pretty standard style I intend to use as a template for future designs.

In addition to that, when I first built my idea of this game while talking to Justin, I had in mind that many of the humans would be from the desert, so would have darker complexions (see Taya and Rinnek). While Kai could be from the cold mountainy areas, so a pale complexion makes sense, Axel was supposed to be from the same desert town. He didn’t really fit that aesthetic, though. You see, Justin started creating sprites before I was drawing these characters, and, being blond himself and having grown up around a lot of blonds, he just started – without really thinking about it – inserting a bunch of blondies. Probably also because that would make Ren stand out all the more. So anyways, after some thought and conversation, we agreed to try and have more definite looks for each regional group.

I thus bring to you, the revised Kai and Axel:



Granted, you can still see a bit of a line-size difference, but these are not official, resized and edited copies yet. In fact, the new Axel has not even been completed highlighted/shaded yet (only his skin thus far), but I think a more unified work among the soldiers is a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, there will be armored humans, not part of the military, that may have different armor styles, including leather armor (which we’ve decided to reserve for elves or non-military humans).

danielle justinian

For example, mine and Justin’s little cameo avatars are part of a little human civilization on the outskirts of Genos, and have split from the main human government. Therefore, they, while still fighters, do not fight for the government and are therefore not issued solider’s armor.

What do you think of the New Axel and Kai? How do you like Axel’s rather complete re-design? How do you feel about trying to have more of a standard in armor?


My Oldest Crush



Not my longest-dating crush, but if I had an old-man crush, it would totally be Sir Patrick Stewart – the knight behind Jean-Luc Picard AND Charles Xavier. Here it is before I change him up a bit so as not to “steal his likeness.” Below are a couple of other recent projects:





The Chief - Normal


Genos is a land of lost technology. Where your character goes, he will encounter devices that are out of function since the Lotus’ explosion. As this old tech utilized the Lotus for energy, they are rendered useless now that the well of power is gone.

This character has had an…. accident with magic, fusing him with machinery, rendering him a cyborg.

We hope to make varied enemies and involve different tactics in fighting them – although with the combat style allotted in RPG Maker may affect that somewhat, making many battles feel the same. The Persona games had a fantastic way around that, making players use Personas representing different arcanas to fight other personas doing the same – basically like pokemon. Call out your water type against that fire type and all. I’m not sure exactly what we can manage in our game… since we won’t have personas or pokemon – but I hope to vary it somehow.

Funder Woman


Like most female nerds, there are some characters I just love. Princess Leia. Sailor Moon. Wonder Woman. Just for fun, I took a moment to draw out how I’d design Wonder Woman’s costume – pretty classic, with a touch of Kingdom Come. I like the idea of her wearing armor – after all, invulnerable or not, she is a proud warrior. I also think throw-backs to her Greek roots make for fun design. I didn’t take the time to detail this draft very much, and if I were seriously drawing it, I’d have added a few more things, particularly on the skirt.

So that my little side-project wasn’t a total waste, as far as productivity for our game goes, and since her look works so well for our game, I made a few modifications to turn her into a resident of Genos. Basically just removing anything that would be trademarked to Wonder Woman.


Ta-daaaaaa!!! Not only is this shade of red used extensively in several of our human characters, but WW’s not known for shoulder-guards. I feel comfortable with this uhh… completely generic dark-haired anime woman warrior – especially considering there will probably be a lot of cameos by fictional characters.

You may notice, by the way, that I prefer my Princess Di a little buff. With that in mind, no; I’m not thrilled about the casting of Gal Gadot. I would have preferred an MMA fighter like Gina Carano, whom I feel is a very pretty woman who can also kick butt. I’m pretty tired of seeing waif-fu.

Pictured: A woman who does not need to suspend disbelief to kick ass.

Oh, Starbuck, that you would’ve been followed more after blazing the trail for realistically tough women.

What do you think? Twigs kicking ass… really?


NPCs go a long way in making the world feel fleshed-out and real. There are games, like the recently reviewed by Justin Gone Home, that have no visible NPCs yet succeed in having a complete-feeling world. However, the presence/existence of NPCs is clearly felt, and an explanation provided for why they’re gone. Not to mention it’s confined to a small setting (within one house) verses other games that are saturated with NPCs, like Skyrim, which take place across continents.

You likely remember the old school Nintendo RPGs, like Pokémon or Zelda (btw, I love it… I typed in Pokémon and my computer automatically added in the accent) where the NPCs occupying your world just kind of walk in a line or around in a circle. After your initial greeting for each day, the character resorts to saying the same brush-off “Well let’s both have fun today!” or “I’m so glad you like cheese too!” “Take care of that pony!” “That was mean!” It’s something we talked about before, where it’s a bit of a trade to maintain the open-world feeling we desire.

It’s incredible to me, now on the other side of the fence, that anyone could be as detail-oriented as Oblivion, wherein NPCs basically live out their entire lives just as you play. I mean… you could very well have one guy in charge of making the entire life-coding for one inconsequential NPC.

Unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of time or man-power. However, I hope that many of our NPCs have their own interesting little background, and that most, if not all, have their own character portraits.

How do you feel about NPCs?

First Impressions of Gimp

Today I thought I’d try out Gimp to continue with my manipulations of The Fist. So far, it’s not my favorite program, but I have not yet reached a verdict on whether I like it and will continue to use it.

It almost feels to me that Gimp IS Photoshop… just with a few, almost superficial differences to make sure we know it’s different. Its hot-keys, for example, are different. The way the layers seems to work is different, too… which is probably what I find most frustrating. It doesn’t seem that adding a new layer is really used to edit the image below it, as much as it’s just kind of a new image on top of it.

Another annoyance is with my Wacom tablet. In both Manga Studio and Photoshop, holding the stylus’ key and pulling the tip up or down on the tablet allows me to navigate the canvas, up, down or side-to-side. Gimp, on the other hand, only allows me to navigate vertically in this way – even if there is room to scroll horizontally – and my directional keys don’t seem to help in that regard, either.

I also like that in Photoshop and Manga Studio, I can use one tool to freely transform my selection or layer, whether it be to change its dimensions, rotate, or cut and move. Gimp doesn’t offer that same multi-purpose tool, instead making me select the various tools for each specific function – if there is a free transform tool, I haven’t found it yet.

Another small issue is that I can’t simply save something as a .png, but have to export it instead. Small difference, but an added hurtle, however small, nonetheless.

The problem that I had with Photoshop – that if I rotate or scale a selection, it blurs the pixels and changes colors – is still present in Gimp, rendering it about as good for pixel art as Photoshop. It is not, so far, like Manga Studio, with obvious strengths in other areas of computer drawing that would motivate me to learn the new interface to use it; it feels as though I’d have to put in all the effort to get used to Gimp’s interface but with little reward as the end result seems, for my purposes, to be the same.

Any handy tips for Gimp or secret benefits I haven’t touched on yet? Has anyone tried GraphicsGale? – I recently saw a blurb about it online for pixel art and it looks promising.

Blonde Elf



How’s everyone doing? Still trying to chug these along. Anyone got some suggestions?

Characters Based on Friends



One way to keep diversity going is to rely a little less on your own imagination and start looking at reality.

When I write, and even when I draw, I always end up making characters that are a little bit me. I think that’s why, when drawing, I really prefer to draw women. Aside from drawing and for my characters in general, I always like quiet but spunky types with a little damage. I find a good way to keep all characters from being too uniform is to base them on people you know.

This guy, above, is based on one of Justin’s best friends. We call him Muscle Milk… haha. He should make a great boss battle.

We Need Men Too

Character of the night, colored but not shaded. Got caught up… this time with helping my cousin move -____-



The invitation’s still open to pitch a character look 😉

The Rogue Girl Finished

roguish girl normal roguish girl


So the fiery, red-headed rogue chick is done. I hope The Otaku Judge is satisfied with how she turned out. I think I am.

Unfortunately, in the game you won’t be able to see the fuller body shot, but really rather just down to the buckle below her boobs.

Red hair is always a little difficult to get down. There’s red like maroon, like scarlet, or the “natural” look – the kind of orange I used here. What kind of red head is your favorite?