I don’t know what I was thinking when I made this. The new (to Stolen Pixels) character is one I’ve had sitting around for ages, and I’ve been waiting for a special occasion to use him. But this wasn’t a very special occasion. Sort of an absurd conversation. Not really the sort of bang he deserves.
A bunch of rambling about Stolen Pixels itself below, for those who are curious why I do what I do…
A few people have noticed I’m using more Garry’s Mod comics these days. This wasn’t something I really planned on, but a natural result of a few different factors. For the most part, Stolen Pixels has contained four key types of comic:
Frames lifted from videogames with dialog bubbles added are the core of the strip, and the reason it exists. It’s actually really, really hard to fill week after week of nothing but screencap strips. Not all games lend themselves to this, and I can only consume games so fast. Lately it seems like less than half of the games I play are screencap-worthy. So, we need some other strips to fill the gaps. Which leads to…
Stock Photo comics
Comics like the EA guy. I’ve stopped using these for the most part, mostly because the cost of doing them has gone up. Shots used to be a buck each. With a little creative re-use, I could make them last over several comics. Then the stock photo site I used was bought out or absorbed by another company. Their prices were double, and their low-end image sizes were halved. The upshot was that I would actually have to pay four times as much for the same quality image. At four bucks a panel, it’s no longer an attractive option. For a while I just kept re-using my existing supply of images of the EA guy, but lately EA just hasn’t done much that’s comic-worthy. Ubisoft and 2kGames are both doing a far better job at being really humiliatingly stupid on a day-to-day basis.
I’ve tried to moderate my use of Travis. I’ve only got a few images of him, and using him too often will wear them out. Moreover, some people can’t stand the Travis comics. It would be one thing if they just didn’t find him funny, but I get this sense of loathing from people.
The real purpose of Travis is to satirize gaming journalism. Gamepunx magazine (his fictional employer) is a better source of humor than Travis himself. I’ve often played with the idea of doing the Gamepunx website, complete with gaming news and reviews. (Stuff like this.) Sort of like the Onion, but for games. I don’t have time for it, but it’s an idea I toy with now and again.
The Breen show and the two gamers are both made in Garry’s mod. Breen is far and away the most popular part of the strip these days. I prefer to to the strips in pairs: A monologue strip followed by an interview. I could probably come very close to doing nothing but Breen comics if I wanted. (Although finding an interview subject every week would be hard, since I can only interview characters that someone has imported to the Source engine.) I try to space Breen out simply because I don’t want people to get sick of him.
The “two gamers on a couch” (one of which appeared in today’s strip) are an accident. They were supposed to be a one-off, intended to satirize the over-use of the trope in comics. And then I started using them regularly. Every couch strip I create adds to my running hypocrisy score. I’ve done three of them now, each time expecting it to be the last.
I also have the psychiatrist strips, but he’s of limited usefulness. He and Breen both share a common pool of potential interview subjects, but Breen is more popular and fills two strips at a time.
Left 4 Dumb was of course also a Gmod series. I loved doing L4Duh, and it was reasonably popular, but the idea never reached its potential because Left 4 Dead uses a newer version of the Source Engine and Gmod can’t load those maps. (Even getting the characters into GMod is a chore.) I had to use the Half-Life 2 maps, which was frustrating, difficult, and ruined about half the jokes. I decided I wouldn’t do Left 4 Dead 2 unless a new version of Gmod became available that let me use the Left 4 Dead 2 levels. (Which seems extremely unlikely.) So for now this series is retired.
As I’ve scaled back my use of stock photos and Travis, Gmod has filled the gap nicely. Which is why some people are getting the impression that Stolen Pixels is “turning into” a Gmod comic.
A video Let's Play series I collaborated on from 2009 to 2017.
A stream-of-gameplay review of Dead Island. This game is a cavalcade of bugs and bad design choices.
Quakecon 2012 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3
Yeah, this game is a classic. But the story is idiotic, incoherent, thematically confused, and patronizing.
A video discussing Megatexture technology. Why we needed it, what it was supposed to do, and why it maybe didn't totally work.