#003: The Level Aquatic

#003: The Level Aquatic

The third episode of "Game On, Hardcore" takes us underwater, setting up upcoming events in near-total silence.

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I like how you got Ecco looking creepy without having to actually alter his appearance at all. No need to add fangs or tentacles, just draw attention to the fact that dolphins are just as much predators as sharks no matter how much more cuddly we think they look and they will absolutely fuck your shit up, those murderous rapey psychopaths...

I'd rather have the triforce tattoo on my upper back in stead of on the front...
Each to their own I guess :P

HalfLife Symbol on her hand and episode 3 = HalfLife 3 confirmed.

"The marks on your head look like stars in the sk-" Hey wait a minute, the marks on Ecco's head aren't in the shape of the Delphinus constellation. Okay, I know it sounds a bit nit-picky, but that's a key part of Ecco's character design, having marks in the shape of a constellation that literally translates as "dolphin".

Pallindromemordnillap:
I like how you got Ecco looking creepy without having to actually alter his appearance at all. No need to add fangs or tentacles, just draw attention to the fact that dolphins are just as much predators as sharks no matter how much more cuddly we think they look and they will absolutely fuck your shit up, those murderous rapey psychopaths...

Yessir! As much as I am an Ecco fan (and I am, a huge one), I've seen my share of "you won't believe what these dolphins did!" YouTube videos, creeping the hell out of me forever.

Guffe:
I'd rather have the triforce tattoo on my upper back in stead of on the front...
Each to their own I guess :P

Ha. Well, you haven't yet seen things tattooed on her back! :D

KaZuYa:
HalfLife Symbol on her hand and episode 3 = HalfLife 3 confirmed.

Yes, I have been in constant contact with Valve in regards to this announcement. Half Life 3 is, indeed, confirmed.

Sofox:
"The marks on your head look like stars in the sk-" Hey wait a minute, the marks on Ecco's head aren't in the shape of the Delphinus constellation. Okay, I know it sounds a bit nit-picky, but that's a key part of Ecco's character design, having marks in the shape of a constellation that literally translates as "dolphin".

Not at all nitpicky, Sofox! Or, rather, nitpicky but correctly so! I'm very aware of Ecco's star pattern (huge fan, the game was a huge experience for my young self, opened me up to abstract thinking, etc. etc.), and just like those Normandy lines, textures, even bits of shape aren't exactly right, just like the Shovel Knight is missing golden ornaments, while his weapon of choice is in a slightly different shape... Neither of these characters or objects are an exact copy of their real life selves. As dictated by our story! :) Still, a definitely good catch.

It took me this long to notice that was the Normandy

KaZuYa:
It took me this long to notice that was the Normandy

Guess I obscured it a bit too much. Will be clear what it is in the next ones, I believe, as we're now officially inside.

Is the 2nd lady Lara Croft, Alyx Vance or an amalgamation of the two?

Johnny Novgorod:
Is the 2nd lady Lara Croft, Alyx Vance or an amalgamation of the two?

You could say she's inspired a bit by Alyx, but she's definitely an original character.

Sounds like fun.

In all ironically brutal honesty, I'm afraid that this is what games will become. People left and right are somehow falling in love with the Souls series, Bloodborne, Monster Hunter, and multiplayer online games infested with experts (a different beast, but still jarringly difficult). I might really miss the old days of the Zelda and Half-Life series that allowed you to overcome enemies with mere scratches instead of physical in-game gashes and psychological real-life scars.

"SPLOOSH"

I love the Archer series, so seeing that used in a serious tone is funny :)

I wonder what's tattooed on her left hand

Another interesting one. Lot's of video game goodies in it too. Glad to see the Normandy make it in (though it appears to have a different name of some sort) considering your avatar.

The only thing I'm not sure about is the triforce tattoo. I recognize the main triangle symbol but not the rest. But I haven't played the more recent Zelda's so I'm just guessing it's a more prominent symbol now with the feathers and such. Initially I got a borderlands feel from it but I don't know why.

It's interesting to see these objects through a different lens. Clearly familiar but usually with a twist.

Fantastic art work, and looks to be shaping into an interesting story! I'm with Bob_McMillan though - hard to see "Sploosh" and keep a straight face these days post-Archer. :p

Xman490:
Sounds like fun. In all ironically brutal honesty, I'm afraid that this is what games will become. People left and right are somehow falling in love with the Souls series, Bloodborne, Monster Hunter, and multiplayer online games infested with experts (a different beast, but still jarringly difficult). I might really miss the old days of the Zelda and Half-Life series that allowed you to overcome enemies with mere scratches instead of physical in-game gashes and psychological real-life scars.

I'd say the games you've mentioned are a part of a pretty specific niche - one that will expand or collapse based on the gaming trends and focus, but is unlikely to dominate the market from A to Z, even in its heyday. I'm not particularly big on any of these titles, granted, but I'm all for niches. I find myself hoping for further compartmentalization of games (as opposed to the push to create a homogenized/blended one-size-fits-all uberproduct), as a way to actually make the medium more interesting for folks like myself. So, hey, all the power to people who want to torture themselves with the Git Gud genre. :D

Bob_McMillan:
"SPLOOSH"
I love the Archer series, so seeing that used in a serious tone is funny :)

Fasckira:
I'm with Bob_McMillan though - hard to see "Sploosh" and keep a straight face these days post-Archer. :p

Gentlemen, do not insinuate that the choice of switching the initial "Splash" to the very Pam Poovey-ish "Sploosh" wasn't a conscious one! :D

whazup:
I wonder what's tattooed on her left hand

Not sure if this counts as a spoiler, but, hey, since we can use these tags to any extent...

Lightknight:
Another interesting one. Lot's of video game goodies in it too. Glad to see the Normandy make it in (though it appears to have a different name of some sort) considering your avatar. The only thing I'm not sure about is the triforce tattoo. I recognize the main triangle symbol but not the rest. But I haven't played the more recent Zelda's so I'm just guessing it's a more prominent symbol now with the feathers and such. Initially I got a borderlands feel from it but I don't know why. It's interesting to see these objects through a different lens. Clearly familiar but usually with a twist.

The next ep will go a long way in setting us up more firmly in the story/universe department, I believe - and you're spot on with the observation that all these instances of well-known characters, locations, objects appear somehow skewed, different.

Right on the money about the name on the Normandy, again, as it is, is in fact, different. An inside joke for myself, and a memory I've transplanted onto one of our protagonists: I have once made an innuendo-heavy playthrough of Mass Effect with Ron Burgundy Shepard, rechristening the Normandy as the Burgundy (which is also a region in France). Fun times were had as crappy impressions flew around.

As for the Zelda tatoo - it's actually the Royal Crest of the Hyrule Royal Family, which I think first appeared in Ocarina of Time. Some more info: http://zeldawiki.org/Royal_Crest

Fasckira:
Fantastic art work, and looks to be shaping into an interesting story!

Thank you for the high praise, Fasckira! Do tune in for the next one!

I'm so confused...and it's GREAT! Need More!!!

So many images. I am loving this.

Yeah those God damn dolphins!! Always smirking and acting friendly and happy and shit....
they're Up To Something, I tell ya!
Heed My Words!!

Anyway, nice strip, as usual.

koobismo:
The next ep will go a long way in setting us up more firmly in the story/universe department, I believe - and you're spot on with the observation that all these instances of well-known characters, locations, objects appear somehow skewed, different.

Great to know! It certainly adds a lot to it that they're familiar but with your own flair to them.

Right on the money about the name on the Normandy, again, as it is, is in fact, different. An inside joke for myself, and a memory I've transplanted onto one of our protagonists: I have once made an innuendo-heavy playthrough of Mass Effect with Ron Burgundy Shepard, rechristening the Normandy as the Burgundy (which is also a region in France). Fun times were had as crappy impressions flew around.

That's hilarious. Thanks for telling me the story behind the name. I figured that one would just be a random inside joke to the grave.

KaZuYa:
It took me this long to notice that was the Normandy

Really? It took me about a second. Although I have been playing Mass Effect a lot, so I pretty much see it everywhere. For example: Koobismo's avatar reminds me the Ilusive Man... oh, wait!

Tigerlily Warrior:
I'm so confused...and it's GREAT! Need More!!! So many images. I am loving this.

Thank you, Tigerlily! Many images indeed, many more to come. :D

A.K.B.:
Yeah those God damn dolphins!! Always smirking and acting friendly and happy and shit....
they're Up To Something, I tell ya! Heed My Words!! Anyway, nice strip, as usual.

In fact, all I ever wanted was for those damn dolphins to get off my lawn. Also, thank you!

Lightknight:
That's hilarious. Thanks for telling me the story behind the name. I figured that one would just be a random inside joke to the grave.

Always glad to share a tidbit, Lightknight!

CaitSeith:
Really? It took me about a second. Although I have been playing Mass Effect a lot, so I pretty much see it everywhere. For example: Koobismo's avatar reminds me the Ilusive Man... oh, wait!

"That's what separates us, CaitSeith. Where you see just a graphical avatar, I see a way to control - to dominate and harness the power of your attention. And, uh, also Reapers."

Dude! what's the Normandy doing in the drink?!? Was Joker drunk at the time?

Things are starting to come together nicely. I'm loving all the little computer game references. This is turning into something very cool.

Oh shit! She's the marked one! The heir to the Throne of Games!

Other than that, Ecco's just upset that he doesn't get to save the person this time...

I'm liking this so far, can't wait to see where this goes! Lots of little nods to things here and there, nice work.

Question: Given that this comic (so far) has a specific narrative, do you know how many episodes it's going to be?

Dwarfman:
Dude! what's the Normandy doing in the drink?!? Was Joker drunk at the time? Things are starting to come together nicely. I'm loving all the little computer game references. This is turning into something very cool.

Funnily enough, it's not all that random! There's actually a very specific in-story reason for why it's underwater, sunk and rusting.

More to come, more to come - I actually feel a shitton of excitement at the thought that there's a chance someone might guess the story and little tidbits like these before I get to them. Will be throwing around the breadcrumbs pretty thick!

FPLOON:
Oh shit! She's the marked one! The heir to the Throne of Games! Other than that, Ecco's just upset that he doesn't get to save the person this time...

Oh, for sure. Look at him, uh, smiling, all he wanted was to say hi, ask how your day's been and hug

chozo_hybrid:
I'm liking this so far, can't wait to see where this goes! Lots of little nods to things here and there, nice work.

Thanks, Chozo_hybrid, much appreciating the comment! Always gives me a boost, hearing someone's waiting for the next one. :)

WhiteTigerShiro:
Question: Given that this comic (so far) has a specific narrative, do you know how many episodes it's going to be?

I don't want to lie, dude, at this point I have no idea.

I have a notebook's worth of notes right now (yup, physical, old-school, written in colored pens, that's how I roll), with the entire scenario planned out in broad strokes, pages adorned by little logical maps, a timeline of past events, all the jazz. Then there's the detailed scenarios written for the next bunch of episodes, which already include dialogue (in Polish for the most part, awaiting my translation), but are very much open to changes and rewrites if I suddenly start hating 'em. Note that I've also written the very finale of the series - multi-parter, missing but a bunch lines of dialogue at the moment - in an effort to avoid breaking the storyline during its last moments.

There's also a pair of "doomsday exits" that could come into play if I'd need to finish the series sooner, due to circumstances outside my control. But, knock on hard wood, I really hope we'll get a chance to go through it all, and play around with it along the way.

Now, having said all that, despite the really decent level of planning I've put into all of this, I'm actually pretty open to changing stuff at a whim - based on feedback, or when a better idea starts gnawing at my brain. I also hope to fit in current references and comments along the way, which might end up being impactful on parts of the story. So, yeah, course-correction is very much the word of the hour here, as is general flexibility... And all that adds up to that "no idea" statement, which, I admit, might've been a better, more concise answer altogether. :D

koobismo:

FPLOON:
Oh shit! She's the marked one! The heir to the Throne of Games! Other than that, Ecco's just upset that he doesn't get to save the person this time...

Oh, for sure. Look at him, uh, smiling, all he wanted was to say hi, ask how your day's been and hug

Well, how kind and considerate of him... I mean, it's the thought that counts, after all...

The illustrations in this series are fantastic. Everything from the composition to the coloring to the way cartoony game images/characters are made to contrast with the realistic style, all of it adds up to some seriously good work. If you've got an interesting narrative planned, then we've got a real gem on our hands. Bravo!

koobismo:

WhiteTigerShiro:
Question: Given that this comic (so far) has a specific narrative, do you know how many episodes it's going to be?

I don't want to lie, dude, at this point I have no idea.

I have a notebook's worth of notes right now (yup, physical, old-school, written in colored pens, that's how I roll), with the entire scenario planned out in broad strokes, pages adorned by little logical maps, a timeline of past events, all the jazz. Then there's the detailed scenarios written for the next bunch of episodes, which already include dialogue (in Polish for the most part, awaiting my translation), but are very much open to changes and rewrites if I suddenly start hating 'em. Note that I've also written the very finale of the series - multi-parter, missing but a bunch lines of dialogue at the moment - in an effort to avoid breaking the storyline during its last moments.

There's also a pair of "doomsday exits" that could come into play if I'd need to finish the series sooner, due to circumstances outside my control. But, knock on hard wood, I really hope we'll get a chance to go through it all, and play around with it along the way.

Now, having said all that, despite the really decent level of planning I've put into all of this, I'm actually pretty open to changing stuff at a whim - based on feedback, or when a better idea starts gnawing at my brain. I also hope to fit in current references and comments along the way, which might end up being impactful on parts of the story. So, yeah, course-correction is very much the word of the hour here, as is general flexibility... And all that adds up to that "no idea" statement, which, I admit, might've been a better, more concise answer altogether. :D

So in short, you know where the story's going, but nothing is set in stone yet?

Gorrath:
The illustrations in this series are fantastic. Everything from the composition to the coloring to the way cartoony game images/characters are made to contrast with the realistic style, all of it adds up to some seriously good work. If you've got an interesting narrative planned, then we've got a real gem on our hands. Bravo!

Thanks, Gorrath, that is high praise indeed. :) Hope you'll like the fourth one as much. Also, yeah, I do hope that the narrative is what's actually interesting about it all.

WhiteTigerShiro:
So in short, you know where the story's going, but nothing is set in stone yet?

Yeah, that's probably a much better way of putting that whole wall of text. :D SOME things are set in stone, most are not, and dependent on feedback. :)

Ecco why! D:

Don't kill humans! You're better than this!

 

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