Wednesday, January 18, 2023

CUPdate 38: Nay Event, Colors Live, and Storyboards

For this CUPdate, I've mostly been getting back into things. This is going to be one of my more productive CUPdates for awhile though.

I started off by continuing the Nay Event, Return to Mr Marcus World. My brother and I are meeting more frequently to do voice chats where we can work on projects together or just do fun activities. For this one, we tried a new event which was a lot of fun! One of us sketched a character digitally, then we sent that drawing over to the other person. They then had to hold a paper up to the screen and trace it. Then we used traditional mediums to color the other person's drawing. This was a really fun collab!

These are the ones I started with the sketch and then he colored:


And these are the ones that he did the sketch for and I colored:


And then another activity that's continued from previous ones is that we'll search for our character's name on Google images and then the first image of a person that comes up, we Photoshop it and turn it into an image of them. These are a little weirder, but here are the two I edited this time:

I've also been continuing to do pretty much daily sketches on Colors Live. The Colors Quest mode with prompts and challenges has been really fun. I see that I only have about a month's worth of them left maybe though, so I'm going to have to come up with my own prompts once I do all of those. It's been a fun way to learn the software though.

And then I've also been making progress on storyboards for the Stinky Girl Eventure whenever I'm at my computer. I finished all of the lineart for all of it, so I'm hoping to have all of the art colored and finished sometime in the first few months of this year.

For next time I'm going to try and do the Global Game Jam. We'll see how that goes! I'm getting surgery in a week and will be recovering in weeks to come, but the plan is to take it easy and do a more chill game this time. After that, depending on how recovery goes, I'm also not expecting much from myself for the next month or so at least, so these may be fairly small posts going forward other than the next one potentially. I'm hoping after this that I'll be feeling better and able to work on art more again though, if everything goes well!

Friday, January 6, 2023

CUPdate 37: Recap and Plans for the Year

I've been making a lot of blog posts recently, so I wanted this to be a shorter post to summarize those posts for my CUPdate presentation. I'm also going to talk about the projects and everything I've been working on since the last CUPdate!

To start off, here's the summary of my project-based goals for 2022 and how those went:

  • Draw Every Day: For the first few months, I did actually draw every day. Once my health issues started to spiral downward in June, I stopped being as consistent, but I did still post a digital sketchbook page every month besides December.
  • Compass Nays: I didn't finish the prologue. This one should probably be put on hold. I DID finish a full game called Spirits of Combination Village though, so I'd say that can count in its place!
  • Eventure Twine: I finished at least 1 Eventure Twine. I also started on a second one and got a headstart on a lot of storyboards for various Eventures that I read or rewrote. I also organized all of them into Google Docs and read through a lot/did a lot of proofreading, so I made really good progress on this.
  • Monthly Nay Days: I set these up with my brother and we met pretty much every month for the most part! They were really helpful and we're going to try and do more.
  • Talk more about The Nays: I created the Nay A Week vlog! I also talked more about what happens in the actual Eventures in my CUPdate presentations in December.

And then here are my goals for 2023:

  • Draw daily, or as often as possible, and post those digital sketchbook pages online once a month.
  • Meet with my brother bi-weekly for Nay Days.
  • Create 2 Eventure Twines for The Nays. Also continue to focus on The Nays with proofreading, storyboards, and rewrites.
  • Record a new vlog series called Eventure A Week. Talk about each Eventure in less than 30 seconds each, spoiler-free.

Since the last CUPdate, I finished the Cimc Eventure Twine! Check out the post here to learn more about that and read through the Eventure. I made a landing page website here and posted the Twine on itchio here.

For Christmas, I got Colors Live on Nintendo Switch, so I'm excited to have a way to create digital art portably now! I've been doing some of the daily challenges that they have and they have some fun limitations to help me get used to using the platform. You can view my profile here.

 

I also met with my brother over the break and we finished writing The Nays Eventure, which is the 3rd Eventure and the next one for me to create a Twine out of. So now I can progress forward on that. We also talked about some plans for the next ones that are earlier in the story, so we might start working on those ones during our next Nay Days. I also read the Stinky Girl Eventure, which is one that I wrote back in April, so he got to hear that part of the story finally.


I also finished my Nay A Week vlog series. I recorded a video (roughly) each week throughout 2022 and talked about The Nays generally. It ranges from general story explanations to what projects I was working on, or just random thoughts or tidbits that I had about what was going on in The Nays.


And then as a tradition, my first drawing of 2023 is related to Cipo. I drew a scene from the Project CBF Eventure that I wrote last year. This is when The Nays let Milada free in the lab and she sees Ciporsius after learning about his time travel plans relating to her.

I also made a Notion page where I'm going to plan out and track what projects my brother and I do during our bi-weekly voice chats! And I have a database of options for us to do so we know what's upcoming as well.


So that's it for this post! I got a lot of end of the year stuff done and also started to draw more. This is probably because I had some time off from work so had more time to dedicate to projects, but I hope I can keep some of this up in the weeks to come, too!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

2023 Plans

It's 2023! Last time I talked about what all happened in 2022, so if you haven't read that already, you can read that here; it'll provide more context for some of my goals for this year.

2022 was the 20-year anniversary of The Nays, so I made a lot of progress on that!

Here's my updated improvement image to keep up with my yearly tradition:

While 2021 was a year that my mental health improved, unfortunately, 2022 was the year that my physical health declined a lot. Keeping that in mind, I'm going to try and be mindful when coming up with this year's goals.


I really liked the goal last year of trying to draw more. Because of health and other issues that came up, it declined halfway through the year. I do want to keep on posting a monthly digital sketchbook drawing and keep my drawings more personal and less publicized like I did last year. That worked out really well for me and took a lot of pressure and stress off of me. I might even end up drawing more if I set up a routine to sketch something after dinner while I'm still in the living room, either in my sketchbook or using my Switch.


I talked about how I started doing "Nay Days" where my brother and I would meet to work on Nay-related projects. It was hard to find a whole day that we were both free each month, so this year instead we're going to try and meet bi-weekly on a weekday night so we can just talk for a few hours and stay connected more often. This might help us stay more focused on a full day if we have one so we can be productive and write more too!


Last year I had goals about Compass Nays. I didn't end up working on it much and I've really switched gears back to The Nays. It makes sense for me to put this project on hold for another year so I can focus on really putting The Nays out there first. That's the original story and I want that to be the first impression that's out there instead of the modified version. I'm not saying every part is going to be public before I can work on this game again, but I do want to focus on getting it in a good spot where I can routinely make at least 1-2 Twines per year before trying to split focus on a different big project. I'd like to make my goal that I create 2 Eventure Twines this year.

So with that, I'm going to focus on The Nays again this year. My goal is to finish proofreading all of the Eventures I've written and then start making progress on more of the rewrites and storyboards for various Eventures. With these new bi-weekly Nay Days, I'm hoping we can also write more of the Eventures that are missing from the earlier parts of the story so I can make quicker progress on these.

I'm also not saying I won't work on Compass Nays at all this year. If I'm inspired and want to pick it back up to work on it for a few weeks, I will. But I'm not dedicating any goals or expecting that I'll work on it this year.


I also had a goal last year where I wanted to talk more about The Nays and get comfortable sharing that. I made progress on it but I wouldn't say I really perfected that, so I want to work on it some more. If I end up creating more Twine stories this year, that means more opportunities for me to share those parts of the story with my friends during the CUPdates.

I also was thinking about trying out the Nay A Week project again this year, but with a twist. It could be called Eventure A Week instead. This idea would be to vaguely describe each Eventure in under 30 seconds, and spoiler-free. This would help me talk about The Nays and pitch it better!

Also not really project-related, but I had fun taking a photo every day, so I would love to continue that project for fun as well.


And this may not be a possible goal, but I'm putting it out into existence! I'd like to improve my health this year. I don't know if it's possible with my conditions, but I'd like to at least try harder with continuing my daily exercises and using my standing desk, and maybe gradually things will get better.


So overall, here's a summary of the main project-based goals:

  • Draw daily, or as often as possible, and post those digital sketchbook pages online once a month.
  • Meet with my brother bi-weekly for Nay Days.
  • Create 2 Eventure Twines for The Nays. Also continue to focus on The Nays with proofreading, storyboards, and rewrites.
  • Record a new vlog series called Eventure A Week. Talk about each Eventure in less than 30 seconds each, spoiler-free.

Hopefully, these goals are reasonable and I'm able to accomplish them this year! I love the feeling of starting January with a fresh slate. I'm looking forward to making this year better than 2022!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 Recap

It's the end of 2022 so it's time for my yearly blog post! This was a very special year. The Nays is officially 20 years old! It was made back in 2002 when my brother and I played with action figures to create the story.

This year I had a lot of ups and downs, but I'll go into those aspects more throughout this post. I'll be going over a lot about projects I've done, but also getting into a little about my health and work since those were big factors in what happened this year and have really affected my personal projects.

To start, here's my 2022 art summary:

I started the year by converting all of our Eventures into Google Docs! This made it much easier for me to proofread and make small edits, and even rewrite some parts straight in Google Docs. Along with this, I read a lot of Eventures this year. Sometimes I was inspired enough to even draw storyboards for them as well. I made a lot of progress on reading through and updating Eventures so they could connect better and just be improved overall. I didn't read through every Eventure, but I did read through the first 105 and made a lot of edits in there. I also wrote/rewrote 14 Eventures, which is the 3rd most productive year in writing since I started tracking in 2008. I only wrote 1.5 Eventures last year, so that's a huge improvement.


Because I was reading more Eventures, that also inspired me to sketch more Eventure moments. One of the goals I had was to draw daily, and while I didn't actually end up doing that entirely, I did sketch a lot more often and ended up sketching a lot of Eventure moments of the ones I was currently reading at the time. I made monthly digital sketchbook posts for every month besides December, and those were a lot of fun. I'd love to continue that into the new year. It really helped me sketch more casually and was less stressful because there was no pressure to post every day, mostly just post once a month. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with, especially in the fall and winter when things are generally busier for me, but I kept up with it regularly towards the start.

Something else that kept me inspired this year was the monthly "Nay Days". These were days that my brother and I voice chatted to usually work on something relating to The Nays. A lot of the time it ended up being more of a casual voice chat, but we did end up writing a few Eventures together through those! So definitely more collaboration happened than the previous year, which was really fun. I'll go into this deeper in the next post, but we're planning to do this more often next year as well.

In addition to writing more Eventures, we also ended up doing some fun Nay Events. We mostly revisited the "Return to Mr Marcus World" event and made up some fun new challenges. It was our first time doing it virtually, but it worked out really well.

This year also ended up being a big year for game development. Not so much in the way I was originally expecting though. At the beginning of the year, my brother and I worked on our Global Game Jam project together. This year we made a game that was really fun to work on and had fairly different gameplay than what we usually make. The game's called Prisoners of Time Fabric and it's a survival game with new mechanics that we hadn't made before. It's probably one of my favorite games that we've made, and we actually were so motivated that we ended up working on it a few weeks later again to fix some areas up and polish it, which we hadn't done in the past before!

In addition to the usual GGJ project, I also made a game from start to finish on my own in one month. It was a game that's a spinoff of The Nays, called Spirits of Combination Village. This is a visual novel/puzzle game about Pamchan's cousin and I made it for the Indie Game Making Contest. I didn't win or anything, but it was a fun challenge to make a game and I got a lot of positive feedback on it, which was cool. It was my first time fully integrating the Inky plugin to write a lot of dialogue outside of RPG Maker too, and that was a great success.

One of my resolutions was to make a lot of progress on Compass Nays, which I didn't actually really do. I worked on it for a few weeks, but I didn't get far. I made some progress on the battle system, parallax maps, and arrays for social links though; I was inspired after my GGJ project to work on this. The reason I didn't make much progress is probably due to the full game that I made in addition, so I think that fulfilled my game design goal instead.

One of my other goals was to talk more about The Nays, so I ended up working on a vlog project called "Nay A Week" where I talked about The Nays for about a minute in each recording and went into detail about some of the projects I was doing. This wasn't actually every week, but I did at least half of the weeks! I haven't compiled these videos together yet, but that'll be coming soon and I'll probably put it together this week.

Building off of that, I presented my most recently created Eventure Twine to my friends during the CUPdate and talked through each drawing to describe the story to them, and it was received better than I was expecting! It was an unexpected way for me to talk about The Nays more, and I really enjoyed it.

And to continue along with my goal of making more Eventure Twines, I created the next Eventure in the series: the Cimc Eventure. This one was shorter so it was more manageable to complete. I even started on the storyboards for the Stinky Girl Eventure as well so I can have a head start on the next one!

I ended up doing a few sound recordings relating to The Nays as well. There was even a brief while where I was recording sound files and soundproofing part of my apartment so I could make some Eventure trailers and recordings.

So overall looking back on it all, I did a lot of work on The Nays to really prepare it for Eventure Twines to come, which is really a big project in itself. It may not be a lot to show because a lot is writing, but I did make a lot of progress and feel better about it all now that I've laid it all out.


Now that I've talked about all of the projects I worked on, I'm going to get into some of the challenges that happened this year, why I've been kind of down, and what's been preventing me from doing as many creative projects.


It all started at the end of January. I started to have some health problems which I thought was just going to be a mild case of sciatica, but it turned out to be spinal arthritis, so it's been very difficult to do much of anything without being in a lot of pain.

I did physical therapy for my condition for a little over 2 months and didn't see much progress, so I've been hopping between doctors and specialists to try and figure out if there's anything that can be done. It's been pretty exhausting, to be honest.

And that's not even all of the health issues I've had this year! In June I had appendicitis so had to get surgery for that and wasn't really able to do much on my own for the next few weeks during recovery. I'm honestly impressed with myself that I decided to make a full game the following month of all of this happening actually.

I also had a scare in October where I tested positive for COVID while on a trip, but I never had any symptoms and had recently gotten the vaccine, so it may have been a false alarm, but was still fairly stressful, to say the least.

In addition to these health issues, I also accepted a management position around that time of it all starting in February, so it was adding a lot more stress to my life. After a long struggle and figuring out it really wasn't a good fit for me, I finally got the approval from my managers to step out of that position and back into one that fits better with my overall career goals. So I'm excited to pick that senior position back up when I return from the winter break.

Through all of this, it wasn't all stressful though. I learned a lot about Discord bots and made an advanced thread-tracking bot with one of my coworkers. I also wrote one of my favorite courses at the start of this year! It was a LARP course that uses RPG Maker, so honestly a lot of fun. And recently I've also been working on more JavaScript and even learning GDevelop.

Looking back at the year, I don't think it's much of a surprise that I wasn't able to accomplish quite as much as I had originally planned, taking all of the health issues and other things into consideration. I was really tired and in pain for a lot of this year, which made it very difficult to focus on projects. I'm hoping next year will get better, but just in case, I don't think I'm going to be as ambitious with my resolutions.

I've noticed over the past couple of years that my productivity has been a bit reversed from what it used to be. I'm now more productive the first half of the year, then once August hits, I slow down and take a few months to recharge. Part of it may be because November and December are when I travel a lot now, so it's harder to work on personal projects. It's weird, but something I should get used to and work with! I still did Inktober, but it was definitely a struggle this year and I'll have to see if I can continue to keep up with it if this is how my track record has been.


So now for the big question. How did I do on my New Years Resolutions?

  • Draw Every Day: For the first few months, I did actually draw every day. Once my health issues started to spiral downward in June, I stopped being as consistent, but I did still post a digital sketchbook page every month besides December.
  • Compass Nays: I didn't finish the prologue. This one should probably be put on hold. I DID finish a full game called Spirits of Combination Village though, so I'd say that can count in its place!
  • Eventure Twine: I finished at least 1 Eventure Twine. I also started on a second one and got a headstart on a lot of storyboards for various Eventures that I read or rewrote. I also organized all of them into Google Docs and read through a lot/did a lot of proofreading, so I made really good progress on this.
  • Monthly Nay Days: I set these up with my brother and we met pretty much every month for the most part! They were really helpful and we're going to try and do more.
  • Talk more about The Nays: I created the Nay A Week vlog! I also talked more about what happens in the actual Eventures in my CUPdate presentations in December.

So I did pretty good! As for my non-art goals to keep up with, I ended up keeping up with my social life which was good. Building off of talking about The Nays more, I also tried out an app where I took a photo a day and that was a fun way to document my life without needing to really do much effort. 

I tried to do VR exercise more, but that, unfortunately, didn't last long until I had health issues that prevented me from doing it. I did end up doing more exercises for my condition instead though with physical therapy three times a week. And now I've been doing at least 4 different exercises at least 2 times a day.

As for my video game backlog... I did play a few, but not many. There were just so many games that came out this year that I was so busy playing new ones and never got caught up on old ones! Next year is gonna be busy with new games too, so we'll see if I get to catch up on any in the backlog.


So this year, as I said, had a lot of ups and downs. I was hoping it'd be all great because it's the 20-year anniversary of The Nays, but that's okay. I did actually get a lot done on The Nays, so I'm happy about that! I know this was a long post but I really wanted to talk about everything that happened and the reasoning behind it all.

Next time I'll talk about my plans for next year, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

CUPdate 36: Cimc Eventure Twine

Just like last year, this CUPdate technically happened a couple of weeks ago, but because it was relating to Christmas presents, I wasn't able to post this publically until now!

I finished the second Eventure Twine in The Nays! This one's called the Cimc Eventure.

Read the story here!

During the last two CUPdates, I presented the storyboards in their current state and told the basic story to my friends. It was a lot of fun to present the story that way and I ended up having a lot of fun going into details about it without even needing to open the script itself.

In addition to the Eventure itself, I also made a website to hold all of the Eventures here. This is going to be the landing page for each Eventure and the main way to navigate between them. I made pages for both The Gek Eventure and the Cimc Eventure so far.

I also made an Eventure recap trailer for The Gek Eventure so that a reader could watch that to remember what happened in the previous Eventure without having to re-read the whole thing.

And similar to the above, I also created a "Characters" image to show which characters were in the previous Eventure to also help keep track of who everyone is.

I'm still working out the details of the Eventure pages, but I think all of the information that's needed is in there now. So I'm going to continue to update these pages and add more of them as I finish the Twine stories.

This Eventure was a bit shorter, so I was also able to get some progress on a later Eventure Twine, the Stinky Girl Eventure. That one is still in the rough stages and not at all ready to post, but it may be coming sooner than the end of next year because I've made some starting progress on it!

I'll have some yearly updates coming up next, so stay tuned!

Friday, December 2, 2022

CUPdate 35: Timer Eventure & p5 Side Project

November's been busy! I ended up being busy in my social life more this month and a lot of video games came out, so I drew a little less often than I would've liked, but I made up for it on a few days by drawing more.

I started out by creating a JavaScript project in p5. This was going to be a short little project for fun that ended up taking a few full days of development to make. Basically it grabs a CSV from one of my massive Google Sheets that lists every character I have and it imports that data into the p5 project. And depending on what the date is, it shows all of the characters whose birthdays it is currently! This is a fun project that will help give me daily prompts of who to draw (and if I haven't drawn them, encourage me to!). Sometimes I want to just have a random character prompt to draw, so I figured this would be perfect to help with that. Right now the picture reference isn't working, but I at least have the basic info about them that'll be good to see for each day.

My brother and I finally wrote the first half of the Timer Eventure! This is one of the biggest turning points in the story and it's been one that I've wanted to do for awhile. We finally got started on it, which was good. Hopefully we'll get to finish writing it before the next time.

And then November ended, so I finished my digital sketchbook for November. I was reading a lot of Eventures this month so I did some quick sketches of some Eventure moments. Also we rewrote a lot of the Timer Eventure, so I did some concepts during some of the intermissions. And then November 3rd 2022 is Rocko's actual birth date, so he was officially born this month!

So while there's not a ton in this post, I did actually get a lot of secret projects done that I can't show yet. Next month I'll be able to talk about some of these projects publicly though, so until then!

Saturday, November 12, 2022

CUPdate 34: October Recap

For this CUPdate I didn't have a lot to show. I've mostly been busy with life things and then rewarding myself with time to play video games. So I only have a few things.

I started out by finishing up Inktober! It was a lot harder this year than it's been any other year, and that's due to just everything that's been going on this year. But I'm at least glad that I pushed through and finished it though. Now I'm looking forward to a break from daily posting. I haven't had a chance to scan them all, but you can find all of my daily posts on Tumblr here.

Most of my art throughout October was sketchbook drawings due to Inktober. I did manage to do a few digital sketches, but not as many as usual for my digital sketchbook. But I did theme a lot of these ones for the month!

I've also been proofreading Eventures when I am at my computer and working on personal projects. While doing this, I sometimes update dialogue to improve it and make sure it's connected to previous Eventures. So while doing this, I got to the Glitch Vessels Eventure. I remembered an old drawing I did of one of these scenes in 2010. So I decided to do a quick sketch to redraw that scene with updated character designs and art for fun. This is when Grenna is temporarily sent to another timeline and Elftair is fed up with how the replacement Grenna is acting. So here's the comparison from the 2010 version to 2022:

Other than that, I didn't do a whole lot. Hopefully I'll have more next time, but also one of those weeks is Thanksgiving week so not a lot will happen during that time. It's also getting to Christmas time where I'll be more busy, so there might not be a ton until New Year's, but we'll see!