Accelerating Rate of Change (Pt. 2)

Changing habits like Infusions on your weapons in Dark Souls III.

Not that I ever really changed my Infusions around. I was originally toying with Chaos for the fact that I wanted to be a sort of Pyromancer, but ultimately decided on Heavy because I was using a broadsword and a shield. Strength was also my primary attribute. So it kind of made sense to lean on Heavy. Not that anything about that build made sense in the end- especially when facing bosses- as the shield was pretty much a hindrance. It did make clearing the majority of the content easier, though. Until I reached the DLC content.

Then my Unkindled was the lone resident of slaughter city.

I’ve mentioned previously how the last few months have been good for creative content, and so, in this post, I’d like to talk about how gaming content could potentially change. I’ve been thinking about focusing on individual aspects of certain titles and writing posts about them. This first occurred to me when I thought about playing through Dark Souls again.

I’ve already got a post that summarises how I felt about Dark Souls, but I’ve never actually experienced the Artorias of the Abyss DLC despite fighting the Hydra and likely having access to it with my first character. I’d also like to go back and experience a different way to play the original. Maybe with Miracles. Or spears. Or a spear with Lightning Spears. In the same way I could look at the different DLC for Dark Souls II and Dark Souls III as well. It was just an idea I had for highlighting content that I may have missed the first time around. It also illustrates how my personal focus is changing back to what it used to be, and how I’d explore certain games more than others or play through them multiple times. Dark Souls as a series is perfect for this, too.

Thinking about this chocobo makes me sad.

I’ve also been playing a lot of the Final Fantasy series in the last couple of years. Most recently I finished the main story for Final Fantasy XV but have yet to start on any of the DLC. Mostly because I’d already been playing for near enough 100hrs and didn’t want to rush through it, which meant it was probably best to return with fresh eyes. I’d also probably enjoy it more if the story wasn’t as vividly present in my mind. It’s like getting to experience it all over again. Which is one of the nice things about having Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age.

I can finally revisit one of my favourite instalments in the series.

This will mean that there will be more gaming content but I’m not going to stop creating other kinds of content as a result. I’ll still be sharing new creative efforts, random updates, and explanations of why I should never go to the local art store. This will just be occasional additional content which highlights things that I find interesting. Or fun.

Or a compilation of how many times it’s feasibly possible to die against the Nameless King while desperately trying to tank him with a greatshield. It’s technically feasibly possible to die infinitely as long as you never stop attempting it. I am known to be stubborn, too. I don’t usually feel this comfortable with whatever this is that I do and so I’m just stretching out a little. Like when you’re laying in a really comfortable bed so you stretch outwards. Only to find that you can’t stretch to the left as there’s a cat on the bed with you, nor can you stretch to the right as there’s another cat on the bed with you, and so you sit quite content with the purring sounds of your furry friends. Who never want to move, either. So making that bed will almost always be impossible.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Advertisements

Accelerating Rate of Change (Pt. 1)

It’s the gift that never stops giving.

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while, but there didn’t seem to be a good time during the recent of string of changes to do so. So I decided to make one. Otherwise the problem would persist as there still wouldn’t be a good time to talk about changes while things were changing. It also serves as a good time to talk about things in general. I don’t do nearly as much of that as I used to, and it might be nice to reflect on some of the more positive moments in the last few months.

First and foremost my personal site has undergone a slight change.

This was primarily to update the presentation of the site as I’ve switched to larger, clearer, and more consistent font choices. In fact, the entire site is larger as a result. I really did like the previous design and that’s why it’s relatively the same, but it’s now larger and easier to access as a whole. It’s also somewhat reminiscent of my WordPress presentation. Which I’ve always liked.

I’ve updated the profile information across the collection of sites, too. I feel as though everything as a whole is closer to what I’ve always wanted it to be. My personal site has always been subject to drastic changes, of which this change is no exception. But I can safely say that each change has been a positive one. Even if I didn’t know it at the time. Which leads into how Moggie @ WordPress has changed recently. I’ve been working through much of the older creative content to bring it up to date with current creative content, which, given how little the actual content has been changed, reinforces that (as I’ve suspected) the content is good but was being held back by the presentation. I’ve also added a new category, Material Studies, under the Art category.

They’re both fluffy and naturally that indicates a conspiracy.

This was mostly added to provide accessibility to content like Fluffy But Terrifying without having to go via the Art page. Now it is all presented as a list of posts which you can scroll through at your leisure. I don’t think there are too many other posts which would benefit from additional or alternate categorisation, but that may change due to future content. For now I’m happy with things as they are. I’ll also be making good use of that category in the coming weeks and months.

I’ve been working on a couple of new things recently, too.

I may share details of one or both in the coming weeks. I also might not. It really depends on when the second decides to leave the conceptual sea, wherein it has already undergone a number of evolutions. It’s definitely more experimental and interesting than some of my older pieces. Especially when looking at choice and use of colour. I’m particularly excited about it.

I think that’s definitely a highlight of the last few months. I’ve felt much better about my creative efforts as a whole and that has definitely helped me see recent pieces through to completion. I also feel as though the quality of newer content has been higher as a result, which, again, is all I’ve ever really wanted for whatever this is that I do. I just want to create things and be happy while doing it. Which is pretty much the situation I find myself in now. That said, it hasn’t been as great as it may seem when reading the above. I’ve had to deal with numerous things in my personal life that I would’ve preferred not to. But such is life. It happens, and, much like a constant state of change, it sometimes manifests in ways you don’t expect.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

The Cure for Insomnia

It’s not safe to travel at night.

Normally I prefer being awake at night, but those pesky bloodthirsty daemons that occupy Eos once the sun goes down make it a little harder to justify. That was until I realised that by not sleeping I could save up (and consequently multiply) experience points at various locations, which ultimately led to not resting for weeks at a time. Which was great for everyone except Ignis who rarely utilised his culinary skills. But at least he cooked more meals than Noctis caught fish. I caught a grand total of two fish and both were for cats.

I later caught a third to talk to a NPC.

Final Fantasy XV is an interesting JRPG that invokes the nostalgia of earlier instalments while standing firmly with its own mechanics. Featuring one of the best open world environments I’ve experienced Eos is overflowing with dangerous enemies, dungeons to explore, secret locations to discover, and hundreds of quests to undertake in one form or another.

I was quite impressed with the character progression mechanics, too. Accruing AP will allow you to unlock new abilities and passive bonuses via Ascension, which made a noticeable difference and allowed your party members to act autonomously with variation in their abilities. It’s not quite the tactical system present in Final Fantasy XII, but it’s one that allows the different party members to retain their personalities and become more powerful over time. The attention to detail in their mannerisms and animations was refreshing as well. As was their role in the party matching their role in the story. For instance, Gladiolus, who acts to protect Noctis, has active and passive abilities that quite literally allow him to shield Noctis from damage.

I’m also glad to see that there is variation in the weapon types used by each character. It’s nice to see the return of a classic approach to upgrading equipment, but with the addition of equipment that is specific to Noctis (due to his role in the story) that allows him to fully utilise his Armiger. Not only reinforcing the new mechanics but allowing more variation when dealing with enemies who are resistant to certain weapon types. Or even magic types. Magic being a curious blend of drawing elemental energy from deposits and crafting this time around.

Elemancy is an interesting concept that I scarcely employed.

Having New Game+ as an option definitely invites the possibility to use different weapons and/or magic the second time around. Being able to switch to the other party members makes for an interesting variation, too. Seeing as each has their own unique mechanics which make them different to Noctis. I don’t know how feasible it is to stay consistently switched, though.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Final Fantasy XV but I was very pleasantly surprised. The open world is vast and features actual dungeons which not only include overflowing numbers of daemons but puzzles and rare equipment, too. The hunts are varied and increasingly difficult with many different enemies to encounter. The side quests often form quest chains which have logical conclusions with the characters concerned. It’s an accomplishment that the world feels as alive as it does- which is something the Final Fantasy series has lacked for a while- but something that comes so naturally to this instalment. It’s a living, breathing, ever-evolving world that’s just waiting to be explored. I highly recommend giving it a chance- it may surprise you.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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!

Moggie

Hunter’s Notes: Paolumu – 2018 – Digital – click for full view on site!

Even their ears are fluffy!

It just so happened that the brush which I made for specific areas of Older and Wiser became incredibly useful in detailing the fur on their balloon neck. I swear that’s just a coincidence and not some form of precognition. I wish it was some form of precognition. Knowing what’s going to happen in the future would be awesome. Except in all the scenarios where it wouldn’t be, because something bad will happen, but is required to happen, and so you would try to avoid it despite knowing it is unavoidable. That would just be unfortunate.

Fluffy But Terrifying offers insight as to my thoughts while painting this piece.

They’re mostly the same thoughts I have now that the piece is complete. As much as any piece is ever complete. One of the best (and most painful) things about growing as an artist is realising that you’ll never be where you want to be, because the goal keeps changing relative to your current perception of your level of skill. It’s a gnawing feeling that never goes away.

That said, I’m most disappointed with the fur on their balloon neck. Everything else is mostly where I want it to be. As noted in the aforementioned post regarding this piece, the thick painted approach is one that I’m unlikely to use for the next piece. It’s an interesting style but one that isn’t suited to everything. Hence these weird paintings that seem to spontaneously appear and disappear with equal amounts of haste. I’m looking to challenge myself. Which, to be fair, is the entire reason I enjoy my creative efforts in the first place. But there’s no point in always falling back on things I know (or at least feel fairly confident) that I can do. I like painting weird creatures, too. Once I find one it’s almost impossible to avoid painting it.
On the other hand, I’m much happier with my work and rate of progression at the moment. I’m much happier with everything in general. I changed around my personal life substantially since the end of last year, which has led to me doing more things that I like doing and enjoying those things much more than I used to. That’s definitely helped me bring out the best in my painting. The acquisition of the Wacom Intuos Pro has certainly helped, too. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to switch to only digital painting or illustrating.

Traditional pieces will still be likely to appear.

I’ve just got quite a few pieces that I’d like to revisit which I think I can make a better attempt at now. To Ink a Deathclaw comes to mind. That would be interesting both because the thick painted approach would likely suit it quite well, and it would be one of the few digital attempts that has line work. Or I might just get rid of the line work with the finished attempt.

I’m not entirely sure if I’ll paint other beasts in Monster Hunter World. Some are kind of messy with indistinguishable details and others don’t really appeal to me, but I won’t say it isn’t a possibility. I might tackle one of their dragons. Both literally (if I happen to purchase the PC release) and figuratively. I might just paint a dragon because I feel like painting one. In either case, I’m quite happy with this piece and I think it fits with what I want my creative efforts (and my personal site as a result) to be. I’m also quite happy that I’ve been working on all sorts of things recently and I’ve still found time to start three paintings and finish two of them. The third is a secret. A secret which might need to be approached in a different way for me to be happy with it.

Moggie

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.

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!

Moggie

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!

Moggie