Stolen Pixels #202: UR AFK? NP!

By Shamus
on Jun 11, 2010
Filed under:
Column

This comic is about playing online games when you don’t have access to the computer, which is apparently a thing that people want to do?

Some behind-the-scenes stuff below:

What I really wanted to do for this comic was to have the gamer down a well. Like, a traditional bucket-filling well. He would just be shouting combat directions from the bottom. Seemed like an easy thing to set up, until I tried to find a well somewhere in Half-Life 2, Episode 1, Episode 2, Team Fortress 2, or Counter Strike and discovered that there aren’t any.

I suppose the cliffhanger turned out better in the end since you could see it was the same guy. Just having word bubbles coming out of a well and conversing with a new character might have been momentarily confusing and blunted the punchline.

If you’re curious, the first frame was taken in the set I constructed. (This level also houses Studio 17, where the Breen show is shot.) The second is the very first level of Half Life 2 in the dark hallway leading to the cafeteria. (I added lights, of course.) The last frame was taken in Half Life 2: Episode 2, in the stretch of driving just before the crashed pod and the farm. (The frame was flipped so I wouldn’t have to cross the word bubbles.)

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From the Archives:

  1. kanthalion says:

    I didn’t realize he was hanging from a cliff. Of course, my screen is kinda small and dark. I thought he was just standing on a grey path at the bottom of the hill that the other guy was on.

    • Syal says:

      I also missed the hanging aspect; I thought he was standing on the rock, shouting his status and waving his arms.

      Of course, now all I can think of is his epitaph.
      “Here Lies Joe: He Healed the Tank.”

      • Pickly says:

        This as what I saw at first, plus it took a bit to realize that the picture was meant to be the person in real life, and not some representation of the person in game. (Since the graphics in the last panel do seem quite WoWish)

  2. UtopiaV1 says:

    Great comic. Talk about reinventing the wheel, all they seem to have done is turn WoW into MSN… hang on, one could argue that’s almost the case anyway ¬_¬

  3. ccesarano says:

    I think having him hanging from a branch actually works in your favor. It’s technically not a very strong joke, but imagining the guy calmly discussing MMO stuff while he’s hanging on for his life gives it a sense of greater absurdity that arose a chuckle.

    • Ingvar says:

      I don’t think he’s discussing it calmly, I think he’s being very passionate about the MMO stuff. He is, however, blatantly ignoring that he’s hanging off a tree branch on the side of a cliff,

      • Meredith says:

        I read it in a panicky ‘omg I’m going to die’ voice since he was hanging on for dear life and it made me laugh.

        Maybe it’s because I don’t play MMOs, but why would you need this? Can’t you e-mail or IM your guild if you have something to say when you’re AFK? Or just, I don’t know…wait till later when you’re in game?

  4. Andrew B says:

    “The frame was flipped so I wouldn’t have to cross the word bubbles.”

    Yeah, you don’t want to do that. Not unless you’re getting attacked by some sort of giant marshmallow.

  5. Volatar says:

    That was one great comic Shamus :)

  6. Dan says:

    Didn’t MySpace start as a website for bands? No reason WoW shouldn’t try to become a social networking site. I might actually trust them on privacy, as they’d be trying to sell me their game, rather than sell data to advertisers.

  7. SatansBestBuddy says:

    “The tank has been killed, and now they’re healing the stealthed rogue.”

    “WHAT?!?”

    “… he said that’s a bad idea, and that you should instead start attacking the boss.”

    “GIVE ME THE PHONE!!”

    “Also, he wants to give all his loot for this dungeon to “SmokedSalmon,” which is his alt and totally not mine.”

  8. Gary says:

    as a thought, you could have gotten a well from Resident Evil 4.

  9. Hal says:

    At first I thought you were talking about WoW’s new “Mobile Auction House” phone-app (also can be done over the traditional interwebs), but I’d never heard of this AFK company.

    I realize people get into this stuff, and if the game you’re playing is one of economic cut-throatery, then split second reactions can be a big deal. Still . . . it’s a friggin’ game, people. At some point, it might be a good idea to not play it, at least for a little while.

  10. Gandaug says:

    This is just one more hook in the soft tender flesh of their consumers.

  11. rofltehcat says:

    Next step: Cyberware in your brain to stay online 24/7!

  12. Andrew says:

    Didn’t lost coast feature a well in the yard?

  13. anna says:

    Several games already have features like this. EVE has an API that you can plug clients into to do certain things – mostly managing your skill training without logging all the way in. During my free trial, that ended up being about 80% of the game for me – open the client, pick some new skills, promise myself that I’d actually log in and *play* at some point.

    Vendetta Online has a pretty relaxed attitude about bots, since it is a skill-based game (and no one has written a competitive combat bot yet…). So much so that someone has written up an IRC bot – communicates between the game chat and an IRC channel on slashnet. So, you can follow and talk on the global in-game channel while you’re not actually logged in. Since VO has a pretty small community and often chats more than anything else, this is a pretty cool feature for that particular game. When I played VO, I ended up talking/reading the IRC channel more than actually logging in and playing.

    I really just don’t have the time budget for MMOs…

  14. Johan says:

    “Studio 17, where the Breen show is shot.”
    That makes sense, does Breen name everything he does “17”?

    “MY city, city 17”
    “MY studio, studio 17”
    “MY trailer, trailer 17”

  15. Maldeus says:

    The cliffhanger thing worked much better than the well. This is probably the first time I actually laughed out loud at a Stolen Pixels comic.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shamus,I thought you hated cliffhanger endings.So,will the next stolen pixels give us the conclusion to this story,or will it be just another cliffhanger comic?

    Also,Im amazed that Im the first one to make that obvious joke.

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