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Gabe / 22 hours ago

PAX Australia!

This Friday is the last day to get the early bird discount on your PAX Aus tickets. Three day badges are 100% sold out now but you can still pick up individual day badges. I’ve flown to Australia twice now and I have to say, 20 hours in the air is not my favorite thing in the world. With that said, I absolutely love Melbourne. If you have any tips for making the flight more humane I’d love to hear them. Right now I pass the time by alternating between trying unsuccessfully to sleep and watching movies I didn’t want to watch when they were in theaters.

-Gabe out

Gabe / 22 hours ago

Monday Sketchdump!

I’m back from almost two weeks of vacation and I feel great. we spent a few days camping here in Washington and then drove over to Idaho and spent another week at a lake cabin in Coeur D’Alene. I drew the first three Nightlight strips before I left but left the fourth for when I got home. I was struggling with the fourth comic because I wasn’t sure what I wanted the monsters in this world to look like. I knew I wanted them to come in all shapes and sizes but I was looking for some theme to tie them all together. When I left for my vacation I had no clue what that theme would be.

Our cabin in Coeur D’Alene had a little dock behind it and the kids loved jumping off it and swimming in the lake. I was sitting on the edge of the dock one day fishing while the kids swam around. I ended up pulling a fish right out from under the dock. I explained that the fish like to hide under the dock and the kids got a little spooked. All of a sudden they were wondering what lived in the darkness under this dock. Then I started to think…beds are kind of like docks. I ran inside and grabbed my sketchbook.

The monsters I started doodling had scales and gills. We caught a catfish that night and the boys thought it was the most disgusting thing they’d ever seen. We pulled out something with sharp fins like thorns on its back. Everything we reeled in just gave me more ideas. I decided the shadows under the bed were like dark, still water and I let that inform my monster designs.

Finally I asked my boys to each draw me a scary monster. Gabe’s was a snake-like thing with scales and gills.

Noah’s had four arms and sharp teeth.

I took the ideas I had about shadows like water, added in some of the stuff from my boys and cooked up the monster in today’s strip.

There’s just two more strips after this one and then we’ll be back to video games. If you can’t wait that long you might want to check out the strips we did for Bungie and the Taken King expansion. They came out during E3 and maybe you missed them. We created a comic for each of the new sub-classes and you can read all of them over on the official Taken King page.

-Gabe out

Grace, Part 4 can be found here.

I don’t KNOW know Adrian Chmielarz, partly because he lives super far away in Poland.  I’ve just played his games - mainly Painkiller, Bulletstorm, and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter - and liked all three of them.  The last one there - the Vanishing one - just came out on PS4.  But you already beat it when came out on PC months ago, like a cool person.  Right?  Here we go.

Adrian, before we continue, I have always wanted to know how to pronounce Chmielarz.  I’m going to write out how I think it would sound, just so you can laugh at me:  Cha-mee-larz.  I assume that’s incorrect.

Yes, that’s incorrect ;) Do this:

1. Go to
2. (Right side translation should be set to Polish)
3.  Click on the speaker icon to listen to the voice.
4.  (Should be something like Hmye-lash)
5.  (Yes it’s weird, but in Polish “Ch” and “H” are the same)

I don’t know if it’s still traumatic to talk about, but can we talk about Bulletstorm?  I’ll go, and then you.  Bulletstorm is one of my favorite games of all time, and one of the reasons I still have a 360 plugged in is just in case I want to play Bulletstorm.  I feel like I’m the only one who understands this game.  I want to call out the Anarchy multiplayer in particular, as there’s simply nothing else like it.  Years later, I still think about it.  I try to get people to plug their own 360s back in.  I offer to buy them a copy.  It’s like that.

One of my favorite things in creative work is the “Satire That Also Functions As A Solid Example Of The Form.”  It’s my opinion that Bulletstorm does this: it subverts action games pretty hard, while simultaneously acting as an innovative exemplar.  There’s a moment near the end of the campaign where the sustained, sort of goofy mask drops completely off - and it was all the more stark because of it.  Basically what I’m saying is that I still really like Bulletstorm.  Whatever else it might have meant, do you still like Bulletstorm?

Bulletstorm is to me like an ex you’re still in love with. So many great memories, so much pain.

The game was nearly four years of hard work. Every developer works hard, but I and some other people worked on it hard even by game development standards. It’s not just the hours, it’s the mental investment. You live and breathe the project for almost four years.

It all seemed worth it. We had financial analysts arguing if it sells 4M or “only” 3M, and we got amazing reviews. The game was ready. It’s PCF, it’s Epic, it’s EA, it’s Rick Remender, it’s a damn fun game to experience. It couldn’t fail.

But then, of course, it did. First day (or was it a week?) sales data came in, and pfffffffffffprt. Lukewarm is the word. Not a disaster, but far away from ever seeing the sequel.

For months I obsessed over what happened. I think I know. But it doesn’t matter, the game just didn’t sell enough and that’s it.

I also kept second guessing myself after the release. I loved our dialogue. I fought for our dialogue. But then you read some people claim it’s a “bro game” and you start doubting yourself. Is it that they didn’t get it, or did you just make a bro game?

I like to think it was not all in vain, though. The experience, the know-how, the contacts, the press. Lots of lessons learned. And ultimately people got the game. Suddenly almost everybody loves it. I mention Bulletstorm and I get flooded with messages on how it’s the greatest shooter of the last generation or how it’s a shame not enough people bought it. If we did a better job and got to all these people earlier, we’d be discussing Bulletstorm 3 today.

Do I like Bulletstorm? Yes. It frustrates me the game is out of my hands, even if I never really owned it. I’d remove the GFWL and re-release it as $20 HD remake for the current gen. I don’t think it deserves to stay abandoned like it is now.


Nightlight Art

I’m pushing myself with this Nightlight story and I’m really proud of how it’s turning out. I really wanted thyis family to feel real and so I’m packing in lots of little details. Some of them are things you can catch if you look closely but others are more personal.

This panel from the first comic for example is favorite of mine because it’s right out of my life. The way Grace’s Mom pulls her into that little side hug is something I see Kara do with Gabe all the time while she is cooking. It’s a little moment from my life that I gave this family. I also love the Dad’s studio door. He let the kids paint on it and you can see at the bottom it’s just a mess. As the kids grow up you see shapes and stick figures. Then some hand prints and I like to think the hearts are from his wife. The blue hand print belongs to the Dad. It’s just a door but I think it tells a little story about this family. I won’t call out any of the other little secrets but I’ve checked the form and I can see that folks are finding some of them.

Click on any of these for a large version.

As always, thanks for indulging us for a couple weeks.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 4 days ago

Just as it says on the tin, it’s Grace: Part Three.  It’s not the sequel!  It’s the threequil?  Treequil?  Triquil.  It’s the third one.

I wrote all this a couple weeks ago, and I usually don’t really remember things after I write them: that’s the whole reason I wrote them down.  If someone tells me the morning a strip goes up that they liked a comic, I have to look it up, or say, “Thank you very much; I am, as ever, your servant.  Which strip was that again?”  There isn’t room to keep them.

But I remember all this stuff.  In fact, I very specifically remember today’s comic.  Not just because of the obvious reasons you might remember it, but because it very nearly didn’t look like this.  It used to just be the bottom three panels.  And maybe I’m telling too much, here, but here is the text message Kiko sent when he saw what Gabe had done:

So you have to understand that Groob has a very special relationship with Kiko, one that extends into realms I have no access to.  Not that realm, but you’re welcome to mentally embroider that scenario on your own time.  He uses Kiko like a dowsing rod, which doesn’t really move things in a less erotic direction.  But Kiko’s eye is invaluable to him, and Keek delivers penetrating (God dammit!) insights with unmatched word economy.  The only other person he trusts like that is Katie Rice, from Camp Weedonwantcha.  Now, get a load of Gabe’s response:

Do you see it?  He says it’s not something we can do, but before the iPhone can even put in a new time or date stamp he’s already included a version of the impossible thing.  To which Kiko replies:

Because that’s how you feel.  Much like Lookouts or Daughters of the Eyrewood, part of Nightlight is imagining how the story would play out for you.  There’s some details you’ll be able to put to work coming up next week.

Remember that next week I have asked people questions, and the ones that got back to me slash were not fully scandalized by my questions slash were allowed to by the corporation that employs them will be going up Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I will be unavailable during this time because I will be engaging in a thorough assault on Scotland’s stocks of Irn-Bru, neeps, and/or tatties.


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