Those Who Travel Alsgard

Neptune is the second Lvl 110 Paladin I’ve played.

Cyberdimension Neptunia 4 Goddesses Online is an ARPG that is heavily influenced by MMORPG mechanics. Mostly because you’re playing an MMORPG with the cast of the Neptunia series. It boasts all of your favourite features, including, but not limited to: crafting, exploring dungeons, group events, loot, bosses, character classes, and character progression systems. It doesn’t boast the overflowing (and overwhelming) number of skills that most MMORPGs have, though. Which makes this a less intense and more enjoyable experience overall.

Not that having options is ever a bad thing in either an MMORPG or an ARPG.

But, in this case, the lack of options doesn’t restrict you. Each skill is generally more useful than several iterations of applying the same effect in a slightly different way. The only exception being the elemental damage skills which each class has limited access to. Naturally, Nepgear, the Mage, has access to all of the elemental damage skills. Including some that the Goddesses have.

The equipment strengthening mechanics also remove much of the busy work usually present in MMORPGs. It’s sort of like a crafting system that isn’t a crafting system. You still need to gather raw materials to strengthen your weapons or armour, but it is handled independently to your characters or their individual expertise. You can easily fully upgrade your starting equipment for quite the boost should you have the money and materials to do so. This is especially important later in the main story when more expensive equipment becomes available. Each upgrade is surprisingly potent, too. I was pleased to discover that some of the equipment I’d upgraded near the beginning of the story was still useful in the later areas. It’s a refreshing change of pace.

We must make haste for there are monsters to loot.

While there are some mechanics which I really enjoyed, there were some which were quite hazy. Like the choice of party tactics. I don’t really know what each of those options mean or what they change about the behaviour of my party members. I would assume that Blanc, a Priest, would default towards healing over damage, but when specifying what I would assume is that option she still seemed more concerned with damage. Then again, I don’t think any healing AI will ever do what I want it to do. But that’s just me being a defensive player.

That said, it’s a minor drawback that doesn’t impact things too greatly.

I’ve been looking forward to Cyberdimension Neptunia 4 Goddesses Online for some time now and it hasn’t disappointed me. It’s not exactly a full length adventure like Megadimension Neptunia VII or other earlier instalments, but it is a greatly enjoyable way to spend thirty hours. There’s definitely potential for regular additional DLC akin to MMO content patches, too.

I wasn’t sure if I’d get around to playing this one as soon as I have due to wanting to play Final Fantasy XV (Windows Edition) at release, but I’m glad that I spent the time on it. I really did enjoy the experience and do wish it were longer. It intentionally feels unfinished (for reasons explained in the story) and that only makes me want to find secret dungeons and/or bosses. I’ll be attempting to get all of the achievements, too. I’m mostly there save for the quests which I still need to finish. I’m hoping that Neptune at Lvl 110+ with an additional roster of Lvl 85-90 characters is enough to beat the final final boss. The most final of bosses. With instant death attacks and several million health. Most likely. I guess I’ll find out when I get there.

Have a nice weekend, all!



Fluffy But Terrifying

The cycle of fluffiness continues.

I’d also argue that the Paolumu is anything but terrifying. Quite adorable, in fact. But they are giant flying beasts that would more than likely swallow you whole if they got the chance… so maybe they are slightly terrifying. But, again, quite adorable, as their primary way to show aggression is to inflate their balloon neck. Which looks ridiculous and is not at all terrifying- unless you’re scared of balloons- in which case feel free to change your trousers at any time. I’m mostly fond of them due to their original design and their unique (and rather interesting) anatomy.

They’re also a great candidate to test my new brushes on.

I reckon you could make some rather nice brushes from their fur, too. In what could only be described as an entirely spontaneous decision I started to paint this majestic winged creature. I do that sometimes. In fact, some of my best work has been entirely spontaneous. Sometimes it’s nice to not stress every aspect of the painting and just focus on actually painting it.

I was also wondering how my new brushes would perform with a new piece. I’ve modified my existing set to include sharper, more precise, and more accurate brushes for those crisp lines. I’ve also added more texture to the flat brush I use often. I’m finding that these new brushes give me more freedom in some ways, more precision in others, and that they encourage more consistent blending. I’ve spent more time adjusting opacity with this piece, too. These are all things that are only possible due to my increasing confidence with digital approaches. I’m also no longer having to fight with the hardware, brushes, and canvas sizing to get the results I want. It’s about as close as I can get to mimicking traditional approaches but with digital tools.
I feel I’ve been bolder in my choice of colours for this piece. Not as bold as I’d like to be- but that will come with confidence. I’m also learning a lot about how best to approach layering colour and defining areas of an illustration or painting, which I could translate to traditional approaches. I’m quite excited to see how different my traditional work will be now. I don’t necessarily feel that either will get weaker as a result of focusing on one or the other. I feel as though they can only improve now. I just need to remember the limitations of each material.

I also miss ink. It allows me to add so many tiny (perhaps unnecessary) details.

I don’t know if this is an approach that I’ll continue to use in the future. I tend to think that each painting or illustration is unique, and, as such, requires a unique approach. I do want to have some consistency between pieces, though. Not having that consistency has caused me problems in the past. But I don’t know if this thick painted style is one I’d like to pursue for every piece.

I rather like how Older and Wiser has its own unique qualities and this piece is starting to develop its own unique qualities in kind. I’m also proud of the progress I’ve made in such a short time with digital painting. I’m far from where I would like to be, but, again, these things will come in time and with confidence. There’s no sense in rushing things. I also don’t know if the next piece you see from me will be the result of traditional or digital approaches. I’ve not felt this positive about my creative efforts in a long time. It’s refreshing- and exciting- and gives me hope for the future pieces I’ll produce. We may even see a few more from Monster Hunter World, too. They’ve got some incredibly colourful, meticulously designed, and anatomically interesting beasts.

Have a nice week, all!


Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Monster Hunter World, Astera, Paolumu, Anjanath, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Capcom.

To Hunt Many Monsters

How else would I make equipment from their remains if I don’t hunt them?

It would seem that some of them would like nothing more than to live in peace, though. They’re quite happy eating at their patch of grass until I come along with a sword and take their body parts. Maybe I’m the real monster. Maybe that’s why they keep sending me out on these quests. I don’t really know. All I do know is that I have a pretty cool sword carved from monster bones, armour crafted from scales and fur, and I’ve finally bought something new-ish for my PS Vita. Well, it’s new to me. I’ve not played Monster Hunter before.

But I might be playing Monster Hunter World as a result.

The Monster Hunter series brings together an interesting albeit clunky set of mechanics. I’m not sure how much Monster Hunter Freedom differs from the original, but I believe it’s a PSP remake of Monster Hunter G. I have no idea what has changed (if anything) and how much it has changed. It’s surprisingly content dense, though. Which is always a good thing for portable titles.

Not that I’ve tried yet but I’m assuming that online functionality will mostly be non-existent now. I don’t know if that changes anything. I get the feeling that the introductory tutorials implied that taking on the toughest monsters is something best done with friends. Then again, it’s not like I’d listen to that advice as I’d still try to fight them. It’s part of the fun. I’d be slightly disappointed to find out that it is literally impossible to fight certain monsters alone. But I guess I’ll find out when I get there. I don’t think it would make too much of a difference, either. Besides missing out on a potentially epic fight or losing the ability to craft certain armour. Or certain weapons. Which may not be that valuable outside of certain encounters anyway.

Monster Hunter Freedom continues the older video game design trend of not really telling you too much about anything. I have several statistics on weapons or armour sets that I don’t fully understand the importance of. If there even is any. I don’t even know what my defensive statistics mean. I’m just assuming that higher numbers are better. But whether those numbers represent a damage reduction percentage, a flat number that translates into a percentage at different Hunter Ranks, or a flat reduction of incoming damage is anyone’s guess

Which is a shame as I love statistics.

I just wish I knew what these ones meant. It is an interesting series, though. I do enjoy how each weapon or armour set has a particular strength and weakness, and how wielding each weapon class feels different to emphasise different ways to approach the same problem. Preparing for hunts is also a vital step in taking down certain monsters. Which is a nice touch.

You really do feel like a monster hunter. You study the monsters, learn their weaknesses, prepare potions and tonics, and can even use that knowledge to capture the monster rather than slay it. There is a certain amount of repetition as you’ll need to grind with certain quests to be able to fully craft armour sets. Or buy a Whetstone for the thousandth time. But, again, these are older video game design trends. I don’t really have a point with this post, either. I just wanted to talk about a rather interesting time I’ve had recently looking at a series I’ve not played before. I’m quite excited for Monster Hunter World but I’m still deciding whether it’s really for me. It does look like it brings together these clunky mechanics in a more cohesive fashion. Which would be great.

Have a nice weekend, all!


Celestial Brushwork

The brush is mightier than the wolf.

Okami HD (as the name would suggest) is a remastered version of the original Okami released in 2006 (which I have never played), and is a rare example of an experience that is complex yet thoroughly enjoyable throughout. It features a large open world and a surprising amount of freedom to go with it. In fact, I would go so far as to say that you’re encouraged to explore this open world as soon as you complete the starting experience. As there is so much to see, do, and unlock even with the limited variety of brush techniques you’ll have at that time.

There are plenty of secrets hidden in this vast world, too.

The focal mechanic of Okami is the use of the Celestial Brush. This allows you to draw onto the environment for a number of different effects, which are directly linked to the number of brush techniques you currently have access to and will be invaluable in unearthing secrets or making progress. It’s an expertly implemented and meticulously utilised mechanic.

Alongside this there is a rather interesting levelling mechanic which is vital to your success. While you can collect three Sun Fragments and increase your health, the primary way to increase your various attributes will be through the acquisition of Praise. Which is something you can find anywhere and everywhere in the world. Mostly acquired from restoring nature to corrupted lands or feeding animals (which is a whole mechanic of its own), you’ll also acquire praise for defeating certain enemies. Praise can then be spent to increase your health, the number of ink wells you have, how many Astral Pouches you can carry, or even how much currency you can hold. It’s an oddly refreshing system that doesn’t promote grinding out battles for experience.

Such a colourful and diverse creature you are.

You’ll also find (and hopefully equip) various weapons in the course of your adventure. Each class of weapon promotes a different advantage be it speed, strength, or combo potential. Visiting the Dojo will allow you to unlock new techniques or bonuses related to each class of weapon, too. While you can also earn rare Demon Fangs which can be used to buy various Holy Artifacts. These are not required for completing the story, but they do have unique bonuses for Amaterasu that you can’t find elsewhere. Especially if you collect all of the Stray Beads.

New Game+ helps greatly in acquiring them all.

One of the other focal mechanics of Okami is the unique storytelling approach. The story itself is an enjoyably awesome tale of epic heroes and ancient demons, but it is presented with such a gorgeous illustration style and brings together the visual style of the title quite well. It’s also rather light-hearted, comical, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously at any time.

There were many things that I enjoyed but the freedom to explore was most enjoyable of all. It’s rare to be allowed to wander around the map as and when you want to, while it’s equally as rare to be allowed to return to earlier areas to use your new brush techniques. You’d usually expect that to be hidden behind New Game+ or the like. In fact, New Game+ is rather well implemented as it isn’t required to access anything. It only really makes it easier to earn the resources required to collect anything you missed the first time around. In either case, I’ve greatly enjoyed this title and can easily recommend it to anyone who enjoys having fun while gaming. Which, in my opinion, is the only reason you should be gaming in the first place.

Have a nice week, all!


Fluffy Beak

An unexpected development.

Once upon a time it was cows and now it’s owls. They’re everywhere. This particular owl is a reinterpretation of a piece that once represented the culmination of my creative efforts and experience, which I hope will encourage the creation of many different pieces. It’s easy to see that I’ve not been happy with my creative efforts for a while. The reasons for that, however, are a little harder to see, which I will attempt to explain while talking about this work in progress. It’ll also serve as a good opportunity to talk about future plans for creative content.

Most of those plans will be tied to the aforementioned reasons.

As each reason highlights an area for improvement. Something that could be done better than (or at the very least differently to) how it is done now, which will hopefully mean that there will be more creative content and that it will be more diverse. You can reasonably assume that some of the older digital paintings which have faded into obscurity will make a return, too.

Most reasons relate to not utilising time (or other resources) effectively and therefore having less overall opportunity to work on things. I’m not happy with how much progress I’ve made over the last few years, either. Not to say that the progress isn’t there- but that there is very little in the way of finished pieces to demonstrate it. I don’t want to have endless quantities of somewhat finished sketches and attempted digital paintings. I want to finish things. For that reason, it’s important to invest more actual time in the process of creating things. Which I really don’t do now and I should. I’ve very few excuses for that other than that I always find an excuse. I need to stop doing that, too. Legitimate excuses do exist (like those of the last few months) but not in all cases.

It’s taking on a rather interesting shape.

This particular work in progress highlights a continued push towards finishing something. Over a few, shorter, less intensive drawing sessions of a few hours or so. In that way I’m rather proud of this piece. It has had significantly less time invested in it than Pug Life, but, in my opinion, looks that much better with more attention to detail. I’ve mostly settled on a semi-realistic kind of stylised digital painting approach. It’s also the first digital painting I’ve done with my newly acquired Wacom Intuos Pro and so I’ve got quite a way to go yet.

But it’s a pretty good first attempt so far.

It’s painfully obvious how much I’ve improved in my approach, too. Both with digital painting and with my creative efforts as a whole. Which may seem contradictory to the above statement about my progression, but it does illustrate (no pun intended) the point I was making. The progression is there but there needs to be pieces that are actually finished to demonstrate that.

Which, obviously, this piece isn’t finished, but it’s probably the closest I’ve had to being finished for some time. I’m hoping to change around the current creative content in January and if I’m successful in doing so then things will be very different. But I hope that most will agree that they’re better this way. I’m still particularly proud of the original interpretation of this owl and it is still an important piece, but I think it’s time to move on from it. To embrace new ideas and new inspiration. To use new materials and approaches both traditionally and digitally. To boldly go where no man has gone before. Oh- wait- that wasn’t what I meant to say. It might still work in that context, though.

Have a nice weekend, all!


Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Alcohol and Resolutions

The two are inescapably linked.

I’m not particularly fond of New Year’s Resolutions, though. The concept is entirely fine but I’m of the opinion that if something should be changed then there’s no reason to wait. For that very reason I’m usually between several different things as I seem to have an endless desire to seek improvements, which is a problem and I recognise that. I might not do anything about it- but I recognise it. I like to think that it’s mostly a good thing. Except when I immediately realise that things could be better and completely invalidate my achievements as a result.

Maybe we should talk about video games instead.

I’ve been greatly enjoying my time with Okami HD in the last week or so. It’s an interesting combination of everything I’ve ever loved about the Legend of Zelda series and drawing to solve every problem ever. It’s also got an interesting yet somewhat exploitable upgrade system that’s akin to grinding experience, items, and currency in JRPGs. It’s pretty fantastic, though.

It reminds me a lot of the Legend of Zelda series mostly because the progression is so fluid. You can easily unlock a lot of different brush techniques, find unique items, and utilise varied upgrade materials from the start of the story. That said, each new technique you learn opens up new possibilities. Some of which are less evident than others. The boss fights are pretty interesting, too. They usually utilise the particular brush technique specific to that location but they’re presented like puzzles instead of button mashing contests. It also features a large and evolving open world that you’re free to explore, return to, and even fast travel around as and when you want to. I’ve found it refreshing to have that amount of freedom in progression throughout.

There are some mechanics prevalent in older video games that I miss. For that reason (and a few others) I’m rather fond of Chronicon, which I’ve also spent a day with over the last week to experience the new content and balance changes. I’m continually surprised as to how much I still enjoy playing that Warlock. He’s been around a while, he’s pretty strong, and probably could do with being on a higher difficulty level. But it’s still fun to develop his Masteries to build on his strengths and (more importantly) his weaknesses.

I’m looking forward to the day it releases in full.

I’ve even spent some time with my newly acquired Wacom Intuos Pro over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been working on a new digital painting that’s going much better than expected, which is due to both the upgraded hardware and an adjusted approach. Hopefully I’ll be able to share more about that later in January. It’s not quite finished yet so I can’t promise anything.

I’m rather hopeful for 2018 as a whole. Things have changed so dramatically in the last few months that it’s almost staggering to think how different things were, but they’re better (for the most part) and that’s what’s important. I can’t really anticipate and therefore can’t promise anything about the coming year but I hope I’ll be happier. At the very least. I’ve realised now that how I feel about things has a greater impact on everything than I could’ve imagined. It seems simple to say, but you get used to living in one way for so long that you forget there are other ways. Perhaps I’ll find one of those other ways and everything will be better as a result. Or maybe things will stay the same. But that’s what makes it exciting, right? Not knowing all the answers.

Have a nice week, all!


September to December 2017

The last summary for the year.

That said, I’m not entirely sure that these summary posts will return next year. I’m planning to make numerous changes over the next few weeks and after those these may not be necessary. I might continue with them as I quite enjoy writing them and looking back over the last few months, but I may not need to rely on them. I’m hoping that the innumerable presentation changes have helped with that, too. In that content is now easier to find and we won’t need to use a post to summarise things. But we’ll see how things look in the New Year.

I may even have new art to share in January.

I would agree that the content has been entirely underwhelming in the last three months. There are many different reasons for that, but primarily that was because I didn’t want to force content out when there was no content to share. I’ve done that before and it doesn’t work. I’d rather have nothing than have a stream of useless filler content that doesn’t add to anything.

I was also committed to letting this year come to an end with whatever content I had available or could make available, and then letting the New Year dictate the new schedules and whatnot. The last couple of years have been interesting in that there have been many changes to things. Many changes which I wasn’t intending to make but that happened regardless. These have meant that things will be different as the collection of sites continues to evolve. I’m hoping that these changes will influence more creative content and less gaming content, but I can’t always be sure I’ll have time to work on different creative projects. I’m rather hoping that digital painting will help to bridge that gap. But, again, I won’t know until I try to do that.

The first of the few posts we did have looked at the brutally punishing yet oddly enjoyable Dark Souls III as a Purloiner of Cinders, which was followed by the excellent Ashes of Malmouth expansion for Grim Dawn in From the Ashes, which was ultimately concluded by Return of the Wang that looks at the ridiculous and indescribable Shadow Warrior 2. I had hoped to squeeze in the deliciously dark Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus before the year ended, but I’ve yet to finish it. Which is a shame as it is a really great sequel.

Just need to keep exploring those districts!

Aside from those there was Momentary Disappearance (Pt. 1) and Momentary Disappearance (Pt. 2) which hoped to explain where I’d gone, what I’d been doing, and when I’d be back. I hope they make a little more sense than my nonsensical rambling above. It’s hard to focus on where I want things to go when I don’t know where that is. As I really don’t these days.

All I can really say about the next few months is that I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that things will change for the better. But I don’t really know. It could end up being the case that I stop doing these things entirely, as I don’t really have any immediate plans on where these things will ultimately end up. They’re just moving along. Slowly but surely. It’s likely that I’d keep the blog regardless and at least keep posting about my creative efforts. It might just mean that there will be literal months between posts and the content comes as and when it comes. But, again, I’m hopeful that it won’t come to that and that things will continue to a similar schedule as they have had previously. I guess we’ll see what happens in the New Year, huh?

Have a nice Christmas, all!