Archive for January, 2009

January 31, 2009

Rick Rocket has been released!

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I talked about Rick Rocket on a post about delayed gratification a month ago, and now it’s finally been released!  I was asked by my client, Troy Hepfner of My Game Company, to make some more art for the game and expand it a little, and I convinced him to give me a shot at the UI as well.  I think that the game has benefited tremendously from these additions, and I’d be thrilled if you guys would check it out.  Like I said before it’s not a triple A game, and it’s probably never going to be talked about in games media, but dammit I can’t help but feel proud knowing that somewhere out there, someone’s playing a game that I helped to make, and they’re loving every minute of it.

If you have young kids and you’re worried about the games they’re playing, or you’re just tired of the blood and guts in video games (Lord knows I’m not because I do love me some Left 4 Dead) do check out My Game Company, who focus on fun and friendly games for kids (and adults!) of all ages.  And if you act now (ala those As seen on TV infomercials) you can buy 2 games off their site and get 1 free!  My Game Company also offers games from other developers, so that’s definitely a great deal.

January 29, 2009

Mimic

Made for another gameartisans mini competition, the theme this time was mimics.  Mimics, in fantasy lore, are monsters that pretend to be something else then attack when the adventurer goes near them.  Traditionally they have been treasure chest that attack when you try to open them, but in this case we had the freedom to create any kind of mimic we wanted.  I chose a “hat mimic” that not only feeds off of it’s host, but controls it as well.

January 25, 2009

Bruce Lee

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Just a quick monochrome Bruce Lee sketch.  Wanted to do something that wasn’t too stressful but still kept me exercising my drawing.  Here’s a cheap trick.  Us e the cutout filter and you get an instant graphic artsy T-shirt design!

bruceleecut

January 20, 2009

The Great Greek Mystery (or Why I had a TL named Ulysses)

helenoftroy

If you’re my age (27) or thereabouts and live in the Philippines, you’re likely to know or have known at least a few people named Nestor, Ulysses, Hercules, or any other great Greek mythological figure.  I myself had a neighbor named Nestor, a Team Leader named Ulysses, and once drew and wrote a comic strip for a man named Hercules.  I’d always thought this was peculiar.  Not that these are bad names by any means, it’s just that I find it extremely odd that Filipinos would name their children after Greeks, especially since we have no cultural ties with them whatsoever.  Jose and Juan and Michael and Ryan are easy enough to understand, given our former colonial masters, but Hector?

What singularity brought about the sudden grecophilia that gave this generation of children their unique names, I wondered.  I think I may have found the answer.  I did a bit of google work, researching movies about Troy.  My rationale was that it must have been some sort of pop cultural device that brought Filipinos to the the story of the Iliad.  Lo and behold, in 1956 a movie called Hlen Troy was released.  In the spirit of epics like Ben-Hur, which were popular at the time, the movie was released at almost the perfect time to influence young Filipino minds into naming their children after great Greek heros.  This may also explain why there are many women in that same age group who are namedHelen and corresponds with the “Helen Theory”, in which my college friends claim that almost 90% of the women that work in National bookstore are named Helen.

I’m obviously pulling this out of y ass, so if anyone has done any real research into this topic (and I don’t see why you wouldn’t), please do let me know what you’ve found out.

January 18, 2009

William Esposo is a bit of a dick, and believes I’m dragging this country down.

So I read an article on the Philippine Star today, which irked me enough to merit a reply via email to the column’s author, one William Esposo.  I made what I thought was an intelligent enough response to his column, certainly not a “OMGWTF ur so stupid!” kind of thing.  It is as follows:

Dear sir,

I must disagree with your article entitled “The extensive damage a foreign medium of instruction unleashes”.  Despite the hyperbole inherent in your article, I find that there was very little in it that convinced me that instituting English is detrimental to our society.  You make broad, sweeping claims that the use of English was why we were left behind in Asia by countries we led in the 1960s, and yet you offer proof of none of this in the Filipino context, choosing instead to compare us to India and Hong Kong (whom you wrongly assume we share a lot of traits with simply because we shared a colonial master that spoke English).

In your reference to India, a certain doctor Kamat quotes that Gandhi always thought that the imposition of a foreign language was “a great evil” and that it “estranged students from the masses and made education unnecessarily expensive”.  This is a very interesting premise, and I would have loved to hear you expound on it, but you simply chose to have us accept it as fact.  What is the evidence, I must ask, that there is any correlation between the two?  Further on, you state that Gandhi’s opinion must be taken seriously because “this relates to achieving nationhood.  What good are Filipinos who are gainfully employed but has lost altogether their sense of nationalism?”  Again you use sweeping generalizations, assuming that all call center employees are unpatriotic a stumbling block towards nationhood.  More on that later.

Next you compare us to Hong Kong.  Where in tests students who had “English-medium” capabilities fare worse than their fellows who were “chinese-medium”  in a science achievement test.  Specifically, you say that “They were particularly weak in problems that assess understanding of abstract concepts, the ability to discriminate between scientific terms, and the ability to apply scientific knowledge in novel or realistic situations.”  Again. very interesting theories, and things that I wish had more meat behind them.  For example, the chinese (as I have heard from numerous chinese friends educated in local chinese schools) have a different method of teaching math and science (or scientific formulas).  Could this be the reason why the chinese-medium students were doing better in the sciences.  Let’s say that I simply agree with you that English is detrimental to the study of science and mathematics.  Then please explain to me why it is that India has sprouted so many engineers and programmers, and why they have nuclear weapons and a successful space program.

Do you notice the incongruence of your two arguments?  You argue that English has weakened students knowledge of Science, and yet India is quite successful in producing engineers and scientists.  And here’s another thing.  You argue that English speaking is a threat to nationhood, and yet in Hong Kong there is a healthy suspicion with regards to mainland China.  The citizens of Hong Kong are quite patriotic and fiercely protective of what they feel is their nation (Hong Kong, not China), and jealously guard their right to self rule.

But let us cast all these arguments aside.  I’m sure I have inserted fallacies into my own arguments, as I’m by no means an expert in the field of education.  But I must strongly, even violently disagree with the idea that one must speak Filipino to be a nationalist.  You arrogantly assume that anyone who works in a call center wants to be an American and is a threat to nationhood.  As if they ought to be ashamed for working there.  As if it would be a better thing that they stayed home and spoke Filipino and were unable to take advantage of an opportunity to make money, have dignity, and be a part of the international workforce.  Do you really believe that if we simply chose to speak Filipino that we would be better off?  If we all only spoke Filipino, would that make politicians less corrupt?  Would there be no insurgency in the south draining our military resources?  If we only spoke Filipino, would we even be a united Philippines?  Tell that to a Bisaya, a Kapampangan, an Ilocano, and see how that goes down.

You rumble on about “misguided and parochial ones who are deepening the national delusion with the English language.”  I’m one of them.  Instead of your examples I point to Singapore, which uses English as the primary means of instruction.  The imposition of a language on a people does not destroy their culture, does not make them any less proud to be what they are.  I am a Filipino, and I am far mor comfortable speaking in English.  I am not lulled by the promise of milk and honey in the US.  Aside from a distrust of US foreign policy, I love my country deeply, and would only choose to leave it under desperate circumstances, or to learn more so that I can come back and share my knowledge with my fellow Filipinos.  I convince my friends who are thinking of leaving to stay, believing that every single one of us that stays in the Philippines and helps to try to fix the mess we’ve made can only make us stronger, and soften the blow of the constant brain drain that lures our best and brightest out of the country.  Am I any less of a nationalist than you for believing that an education in English can help rather than hinder us in this increasingly globalized world?  Who’s being parochial now?

I was basically letting off some steam.  I considered putting it up on my blog but forgot about it, and decided to finish an entry to gameartisans instead.  I hardly tought he’d bother replying to it, since I’m sure most broadsheet writers probably get tons of email.  But I guess he read just enough to reply this to me:

This country is dragged down by people who think they know what they are doing – like you.

So I’m royally pissed off now.  Is that it?  That’s all you can offer me?  You, a supposed journalist for a major broadsheet?  That’s all you have to say?  I reply:

It must be nice to sit on your high horse at a broadsheet and reply to well thought out responses with pithy and mean spirited replies.  If you thought my arguments didn’t have enough merit you could have pointed it out to  me or just ignored me entirely.  Instead you chose to reply with another sweeping generalization, much like your column. Good job!

I’m trying not to get too angry because really, what’s the point right?  But I’m angry and petty enough to put this up for public record because frankly, I think he’s a bit of a dick.  He could have chosen to merely ignore my email if he didn’t agree with me.  Or, he could have taken the high route and engaged me in discussion, pointing out any errors or flaws in my argument.  I was thinking more he’d ignore because really, who the fuck am I right?  Just another irate reader.  But no, instead of doing any of these things he chose to insult me instead.  Hell, if that’s what having Filipino as a medium of instruction teaches you, give me English any fucking day.

January 15, 2009

Horned Knight v2

hornyknight1

Well, it’s finally done, and I’ve put it up on conceptart.org to be savaged in the critique section.  Which means I should probably put it up on Deviantart to soften the blow.

January 14, 2009

Weird Robot

weirdrobo

Just thrashing about blindly on the tablet.

January 14, 2009

I am a Vambie!

mz304a

And for today’s “laughing so hard your stomach hurts” moment, I give you, ladies and gentlemen, VAMBIE!  Brought to you by the-isb.  OK so it’s less funny the more you read it, but I swear to got this caught me off guard and had me laughing my ass off for a good 5 minutes the first time I saw it.

January 8, 2009

Horned Knight

hornyknight
This is one of the most intricate pieces of work I’ve done yet, and something that I’ve been attending to every now and then for the past few weeks. It’s essentially a study in composition, armor design, and texture. This is maybe halfway done. In a way it’s also been an exercise in patience. I’m learning not to rush myself and just let things take their natural course.

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January 7, 2009

Dear Tzipi Livni

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Note: I have tried to avoid socio-political commentary lately because a) I’m really no expert at it and b) it invites all sorts of stupid opinions that I’d rather live without.  However, the internet has provided a forum for armchair U.N. Secretary generals (aka blogs) so I’ll voice out my opinions in a snarky letter to the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni.

Dear Tzipi,

Despite the fact that you’re pretty hot for an Israeli Foreign Minister, I must say I have some issues with your recent CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour.

AMANPOUR: You say it will help the peace process. But every time Israel goes to war against — whether it’s Hezbollah or even whether it’s against Hamas, it does in fact end up helping those who are the victims or the targets of your war, particularly given how many civilians are being killed by your forces in Gaza.

LIVNI: I can understand that the reality — not only the pictures coming from Gaza, but the reality can provoke and can make demonstrations, and provoke demonstrations in different parts of the world, especially in the Arab world. I can understand the empathy that public and the public opinion in different parts toward the Palestinians. We are not fighting the Palestinians. We are fighting Hamas, a terrorist organization which controls Gaza strip.

Now, it is true, and you asked me, there are also civil casualties. But we are trying to avoid civil casualties, even though it’s not easy, while Hamas is targeting our civilians as a target. Now…

Yes, well, I can see how it can be difficult not to target civilians from so far away, in your jets and helicopters.  Oops, hit another market next to that supposed Hamas hideout!  Damn.  Well, you can’t win ’em all!  Also, please don’t belittle the population of the world by saying you understand why your actions can provoke demonstrations for you to stop killing Palestinians (and let’s be clear, members of Hamas are Palestinian) because if you truly understood why people find your actions so abhorrent you’d stop immediately.

AMANPOUR: Mrs. Livni, all Israelis feel that’s a very, very bad thing, and everybody knows that — most people accept that it is Hamas who provoked the — your incursion. However, more than 400 Palestinians have been killed, many of them are children, many of them are women. More than 2,000 have been wounded, many of them children, many of them women and elderly men. There are a lot of civilians amongst the casualties. What are you going to do to avoid that, and can you in this case?

LIVNI: What we are doing is trying to avoid it. We are putting now our forces at risk because there are certain things that we didn’t want to do from the air in highly populated areas. This is what we are doing.

Wait wait wait, so to answer the question What are you going to do to avoid that, you say “What we are doing is trying to avoid it.”  Nice save there Tzipi.  Debate much? Glad to see you’re putting some of your forces at risk btw, I was afraid they’d get bored shooting people from a distance.  I mean, that IS their job right?  as soldiers?  To be in the line of fire?  As opposed to say, children.

AMANPOUR: The Palestinians leadership complain very bitterly about the disproportionate use of Israeli force. What is your view on the proportionality of your response?

LIVNI: I have to say that I can’t understand what is the nature of proportionality which is needed. I mean, they targeted last week a school in Beersheba, in Israel. Do you think that the proportionate action is to target a school?…

Whoops.

So the only measure that we are taking is to have them understand that this needs to be stopped. This is the expression of self-defense, the right of self-defense of a state.

And we tried — we tried a truce. We decided not to target at all. We decided not to retaliate at all. It didn’t help. So this time, we needed to say that, yes, maybe it is not according to — we are not answering one to one, one more to one missile to come from Israel. This needs to be stopped. So the question of proportionality I think is being misused against Israel.

I have to say that I can’t understand your inability to understand the nature of proportionality.  The bottom line is that the ratio of killed is maybe 600 to 6.  100:1. 100 Palestinian lives for one Israeli life.  OK, so maybe it’s not fair because, you know, Hamas is a terrorist organization, and Israel is a state, with every right to defend itself.  But even if we throw all those arguments out the door the ratio 100:1 only means one thing: You’re better killers than they are.

I think I’ll leave it at that.  Full interview transcript can be found here.