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The art and other stuff of Peter Harman

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Wolf O'Donnell (and some rambling)

I'm on edge.

I recently heard that a Sonic The Hedgehog movie has been given the green light. This adds to the ever-growing list of videogame-to-film adaptations. There's upcoming movies for Ratchet and Clank, Sly Raccoon, Uncharted, The Last of Us (I think that's still in development), Minecraft and Five Night's at Freddy's, just to name a few. With the increase of video game based movies, I'm getting wary again as to the possibility of there being a Starfox movie or animated series. Now, as I'm sure I've mentioned in a previous post, I'd love to see either a film or animated series of Starfox, but only if I have a role in it (preferably running it). I'm an arrogant bastard and I want to be the one to create it. Oh sure, even if someone else makes something, it certainly doesn't stop me from creating an animation of my own, but I want to be both the best AND the first. With the Starfox Zero coming out this year, it could get the attention of a studio. Although, thinking about it, there has been very little in the way of films based on Nintendo IPs. The Mario Bros cartoon series and the live action film are the only examples I can think of (well, yeah, there was also those Zelda cartoons within the Mario Bros series).

Anyway, now that I've finished my Unstable Housewife short, I'm getting back into the Starfox animation I've been planning. It was actually going to be further down the list of projects - I did have one more lined up before I reached Starfox - but have decided to bump it forward as I'm eager to get started and also because the latest game is coming out soon and I feel the timing might be ideal.

Here's a concept image of Wolf O'Donnell. The design is mostly based off the Wolf trophy from Smash Bros Wii U (because I'm lazy), with a few additions of my own. The colours need altering, but I needed to whip something up for the purposes of this post.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Unstable Housewife animation - done!

Ah, finally finished my 'Unstable Housewife' animation. It was good to finally complete it. Took me nine months, working on it here and there after work and on weekends. Since my job also involves animation, it took a lot of effort to muster up the motivation. But it's done, it's out of the way and now I can think about my next project.

Here's the link to the video;

Friday, December 11, 2015

Star Wars fails at War

Well, it's less than a week until the latest unnecessary installment to the Star Wars saga is released in cinemas. So I may as well chip in my own opinions on it, 'cause I'm sure we need another random on the internet talking about a film that hasn't been released yet. Why is it called 'The Force Awakens' anyway? Considering the Force was around heavily in the prequels, and dwindled to almost nothing by the end of the original trilogy, shouldn't it be called 'The Force Reawakens'?

But's that's not what I'm here to complain about, oh no. For me personally, Star Wars Ep 7 has already failed. From what I've gathered from the trailers, it hasn't even gotten the 'war' component right. I mean come on! It's half the franchise's name! Over the years, I have studied a fair bit on military history. While I don't consider myself a master tactician, I do believe I know something about how wars are fought. Anyway, back to the Star Wars Ep7 trailer. So when is Ep7 set? 20? 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi? In any case, it's been a while. The first problem is that it appears the Imperials are still the enemy. Really? Last time we saw them, they lost the second Death Star, their leader and their capital Star Destroyer (I've forgotten the name of it. Sorry). How do they still have the capacity to fight? Are the Rebels that useless? My other problem is that in the trailer, we see X-Wings and TIE fighters. Now this is dumb, dumb, so fucking dumb, dumb beyond belief. Again, it's 20-30 years after Jedi and both sides are STILL using the same military hardware as before? This is particularly galling for the Empire. Considering how much stuff of theirs has been destroyed in previous movies, why do they persist using the same rubbish that, as we have seen, is inadequate? No! This is not how it's done! War is an arms race, trying to refine and improve your tactics and technology to get an edge over your opponent. Painting the TIES and X-Wings black is not an improvement.

Look at what they did in the original trilogy - In New Hope we saw the standard TIE. In Empire Strikes Back we saw the TIE bomber and in Jedi we saw the TIE interceptor. Now, as far as Star Wars lore goes, maybe all models were always there to begin with, I dunno. But as each film came along, we saw a new type of TIE. This (to me at least) gives the impression that the Empire are coming up with new ships over the timeline of the films. They were developing and improving their technology. Even the Rebels do the same. We see X and Y-Wings in the first movie (of the original trilogy) and by the third they also have the A and B-Wings (huh. I've just realised that X,Y,A and B are also the standard buttons on a video game controller. Sorry, got distracted)

I fear that the new film is making too many call backs to the original trilogy. I hate it when a movie is more 'hey look! It's that thing from the previous movies! Remember that?' rather than expanding and being creative with the franchise.

The original trilogy bollockses up war too. The Battle Of Hoth? Oh that's just woeful! Time for me to rant. Ahem;

I really don't know how the Empire won that fight. They got nothing right. The first misstep was reconnaissance. Why did they send probes to the planet surface? Why not send a high altitude drone? Or an orbital satellite? Both options would have allowed the surveillance of a wider area than a probe at ground level. Plus, something like a satellite may have been harder to detect than probes, which the Rebels detected and were alerted to the possibility of invasion. Then there's the battle itself and the AT-AT. Sigh. This by far is the dumbest bit of military hardware ever created. The AT-AT is incredibly slow (a jogging soldier can outrun one), has next to no maneuverability, has a high centre of gravity and only has guns on the front, leaving it vulnerable to attack from any other angle. I don't know why the Rebels sent out the snowspeeders. Send in Y-Wings! Pummel some proton torpedoes into the side! The high centre of gravity would make them fall over super easy! I also don't get why the AT-AT armour was impenetrable to blaster fire, but suddenly has the integrity of cardboard once the walker gets tripped up. Why couldn't the imperials send in some fighters? They got the walkers down to the surface and under the Rebel's shield somehow, surely they could also send in some low-flying fighters to zip in and destroy the shield generator  much, much faster than those stupid, useless walkers. Plus a speedy assault would have allowed the Empire to capture the base much faster and round up the Rebels before they could escape. This is the other thing - why did the Empire only send one Star Destroyer to Hoth? (was it only one? I can't remember) Why not several? Set up a blockade or something. Maybe it was over-confidence on the part of the Empire. I also don't get why the Rebels didn't also set up some kind of weapon to obliterate the Star Destroyers in conjunction with the ion cannons. I suppose that would result in some kind of prolonged siege. If the Rebels destroyed one Star Destroyer, then the Empire would send more. I guess the Rebels didn't have the resources to deal with it.

Anyway, that's my nerdy nitpicking out of the way for now. I'm sure I will go see the new film, but I'm not expecting much. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas and Stylene

This post serves a bit of a dual-purpose. Not only did I want to make a Christmas themed pic, but this month also marks the sixteenth birthday of my Dogs Of War character Stylene.

It was December 1999 when I first drew her. I don't know the precise date - I kinda wish I had put the date on the drawing at the time. Oh well.

In essence she's remained the same since her conceptualisation. It's just been the smaller details that have changed over the years - eye shape, hairstyle, as well as making her hands and feet brown rather than orange. I'm quite sure there will still be more changes to come - such as her fringe. I know I can come up with something better than that.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Movies done PROPERLY, dammit!

Oh joy! I've heard there is going to be a reboot of the reboot of Ocean's Eleven. I like this. I like this a lot. The Ocean's Eleven trilogy (that is, the first Ocean's Eleven reboot and it's sequels Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen) rank amongst my top favourite films. To me, these are how movies should be done for a number of reasons.

I find modern film more and more grating. With the rise of CGI, films have become more of a visual spectacle and a times it feels like they're thinking more about what would make a cool action sequence rather than developing interesting characters and plot. I find the dialogue very bland, particularly in the delivery. Far too many films have their characters deliver lines in a very dry, monotonous tone with no emotional inflection what so ever. You may as well use a text-to-speech program and get the same overall tone. There's just no personality to the dialogue. The writing itself can be pretty bad, too. At times a line of dialogue feels like the screenwriter was trying to come up the most dramatic thing someone could say rather than something someone WOULD say in a given situation. 

Ocean's 11, 12 and 13 are brilliant. Very rarely do lines feel like 'movie' dialogue. Ok, Julia Roberts must not have gotten that memo in Ocean's Eleven, but she did a better job in 12. While I feel Ocean's 12 was the weaker of the three films, with a few awkward moments (but overall still a great film), it contains the best examples of dialogue done right. There are times when characters are in an open discussion, and occasionally they talk over one another, or start to deliver a line only to change tack mid word and say something else. It looks like they are thinking as they speak rather than regurgitating a pre-written line. In Ocean's Thirteen, during the interview between Terry Benedict and Oprah Winfrey, you get the impression that he is on the spot and has to think about what to say on the fly. Still speaking of Ocean's Thirteen, something else they did right was the portrayal of computers. There's a sequence where the security staff at William Bank's casino are running an 'all known associates' search against a suspect. As they enter the data, all we hear is the typing of the keyboard and the hum of the servers in the background. In pretty much ANY film or TV show, everything that we see happening on a computer screen is accompanied by a sound effect. This does not happen. I mean really - look at your own computer how often does doing something within your operating system make a noise? Hardly ever. It's this kind of inaccurate representation compared to the real world that gets on my nerves (as you can see, I'm a picky bastard).

So yes, really, really looking forward to the next Ocean's film. They're going for a female centric cast this time which could be interesting. Steven Soderbergh is back to direct, and George Clooney is on board to assist, so I'm hoping for good things.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fox character rig and more Starfox Zero news

Some more concepts relating to my potential Starfox animations. Here's the turnaround for the character rig of Fox. As I've said in previous posts, I'm basing him more off his Starfox Adventures appearance, with a little bit of the Fox Amiibo thrown in for reference. While the shoes are influenced somewhat by SF Adventures, I might change them so if you have a better idea, let me know.

This might be the last of the Starfox related stuff I'll do for a while. I'm trying to discipline myself to not start a new project until I've finished my current one. I'm still trying to push to get my Unstable Housewife clip finished, then I have another animated short in mind before I had planned to get into Starfox. The rigs of Fox and Krystal were made as a fun little diversion.

Speaking of Starfox, I recently found out that Starfox Zero is going to be delayed until 
1st quarter 2016.


Given my obvious love for the franchise, you may be puzzled as to why I consider the delay a good thing.

I like to think a game is all it can be given the time and resources allocated to it. The notion of a developer pouring everything they can and making it the best they can is reassuring that the end product will be of decent quality.

This is why I tend to dislike things such as Day One DLC. To me it gives the impression content has deliberately been held back in order to squeeze out a few more coins from us. Yes, I know this is often misunderstood, as the downtime between when a game is finished to when it is ready to go on sale, can allow for the developers to whip up some extra content. But this still feels like we're not getting the whole package when we should. And if the DLC is available the same time the full game gets released, why can't it be bundled together for a single price? I'm fine with paying for DLC after a game has been out for a while, as the development is presumably funded by the sales of the main game, but during the initial launch, everything should be available together. But anyway, I'm digressing...

If I recall correctly, I think StarFox 0 had originally been slated for an early 2016 release but was brought forward to November 2015 a little while ago. I was actually bit miffed to hear it was coming out sooner than expected. Oh sure, if a game gets finished sooner than anticipated and it's everything the developer had set to achieve, then by all means release it. But I like to think the longer a game is in development, the more gameplay and content it would contain. I know that delays can be bad for a developers, as the longer a game is in development, the higher the costs end up in terms of wages and restocking the biscuits in the break room. But like I said, it gives me the impression the developer cares about the project and if the game is better as a result, then hopefully it also raises consumer confidence for future projects. Blizzard are notorious (in a good way) for delaying the releases of their games - even before their juggernaut money earner World Of Warcraft came around to continually finance them. Even here I didn't mind. Yes, it was frustrating to hear of delays when you wanted the game and you wanted it yesterday, but Blizzard have always delivered a quality product as a result.

Besides, even though Starfox may be delayed, I've still got Fallout 4 to look forward to for a November release.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nintendo(n't put that up on YouTube)

Ugh. It's been a while hasn't it? I've been flat out busy for the past few weeks with my job and just haven't had the energy to update my blog. However I've taken an extended weekend to refresh so now is as good as time as any, particularly since once I head back to work, I'll be busy again.

Anywho, here is a turnaround for the character rig I have made of Starfox's Krystal, for the animations I hope to be able to get around to doing. Still a few tweaks to do, such as hand shapes for each angle and I've just realised I haven't drawn the belt pouches on a few angles, but overall you get the idea. It may be some time before I get around to doing some Starfox animation, not only due to the lethargy I've got thanks to work, but also because I have a couple other projects I'd like to get done first.

Though if I do make something, I'm concerned it may be for naught. At present, Nintendo are clamping down handing out copyright infringement claims to any video on YouTube that feature footage/music etc from games they have published. This... this is just plain DUMB and makes me angry. Yes, you could argue in this case that YouTubers are using (and sometimes profiting off) someone else's intellectual property which is technically copyright infringement, but the games industry generally tends to turn a blind eye over these things. Video games are an interactive experience. To get full enjoyment, you need to play them. Watching a video of a game will not fill this void. These aren't music or movies, where uploading something allows the user to experience something they would otherwise have to pay for. The video game industry would not lose revenue by people uploading videos of their games. If anything, it boosts it. A video can show the viewer how the games looks as well as how it plays. It can generate interest and make people think 'ooh, that looks like fun, maybe I'll give it a go.' It's basically free advertising - it showcases a game without the developers/publishers having to pay any money. I mean, I've bought games I wouldn't have otherwise picked up or even known about this way. Hell, it was some YouTube gameplay footage that made me finally decide to buy a Playstation 4 (which is another reason for the lull in blog posts. The PS4 is fuuuuun).

By removing these 'offending' videos, Nintendo are basically shooting themselves in the foot. Without mainstream exposure, they are narrowing their customer base. I'm sure there are many people that would find Nintendo games a lot of fun, they just need to be shown what's out there. I know Ninty do a lot of things in their own way, but it infuriates me that they seem to be increasingly out of touch with important industry trends.

This brings me back to my Starfox animations. While the animations would be of my own creation, they still are based off the Starfox franchise - which I don't own the rights to. So my concern is that if I was to put up something, it may get one of those copyright strikes. But since the strikes focus more on video game footage, maybe I'll be ok.