Thursday, 13 November 2014

Tales of Hearts R

This review is also featured here:

Tales of Hearts R is a JRPG originally made for the Nintendo DS in Japan but has been remade (hence the ‘R’ in the title) for the Playstation Vita globally. The story follows Kor Meteor, a boy being trained by his grandpa to use a weapon powered by the strength of his heart and emotions, called a Soma. He meets the mysterious siblings named Kohaku and Hisui Hearts. Kohaku is attacked by a sorceress named Incarose and Kohaku’s spiria, the essence of her emotions, is damaged. This causes her spiria to fracture and scatter across the world, leaving her an emotionless shell. Kor teams up with Hisui and Kohaku to find the fragments of Kohaku’s spiria and restore her emotions one by one.

The game features a mixture of both anime and computer generated cutscenes with the 3D modelled game characters. This is because there were two versions of the original Japanese DS version, the “Anime Edition” and the “CG Movie Edition”. In the Vita remake, both types of cutscenes are used depending on the cutscene.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Adventures in Cosplay: Mabel Pines

So the weekend of the 8th and 9th of November 2014 was Cardiff Film and Comic Con so I decided to get creative and sew onto a jumper to create a jumper worn by a character called Mabel Pines on the Disney cartoon, Gravity Falls.

So lets see how the jumper turned out!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

My Issues with Reboots and Superheroes

Rebooting old movies have now become a strong part of our media culture. It allows a new, often younger, audience to relive the stories that others have enjoyed but with the added bonus of better graphics and usually a much bigger budget.

My personal problem with this is simply, why? Why can’t people just appreciate the original for what it was? What’s the real point of rebooting movies? Yes, I understand that in some cases a reboot can only help it, whether it’s simply improving the story or just raising awareness to a franchise. For example, I only found out in the last few years that there was a live-action Spider-Man before Tobey Maguire in 2002. In 1977 we had Nicholas Hammond who actually did well enough to spawn a television series, The Amazing Spider-Man in 1978. But I know for a fact that the majority of my friends have heard of this. The majority of young people think of their first Spider-Man as being Tobey Maguire because those movies did so well as a reboot. Except the third movie. We don’t talk about that.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Table Top Racing

Table Top Racing is easily one of the best racing games I've played. There's something about a miniature car driving around over sized environments of sushi restaurants, kids toys and picnics that I quite like.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2 - The Game

My immediate thoughts when I heard of the How to Train Your Dragon 2 video-game were of being able to essentially watch the movie but be in control of the characters. My main expectations were that the player would be able to fly the various dragons, race them and complete challenges.

These expectations were met. But sadly that's about it for the game. Unlike most movies turned games, HTTYD2 focuses on a small aspect of the movie which, as far as I've played, doesn't have any new movie-plot spoilers. All it says is that they've started the "Dragon Games" which is made up of 5 mini-games you play as part of tournaments at different levels. As you complete tournaments you level up your dragon and it's fairly challenging. Just incredibly repetitive.

Unfortunately there are more bad things I can say about the game than there are good. So, lets get started.

1- The graphics are lazy.
I don't mean just lazy for a game but for a game based on an computer-animated movie it just ruins the franchise! When you have a game based on a movie you expect the graphics to be dulled-down versions of the original, but we have seen what studios are capable with in these movies and when you have something computer-animated vs something computer-animated you're going to compare the two very harshly. Now I have to say that games need to be simplified compared to animated movies or they won't be able to work. Games cannot achieve movie-quality detail without freezing and buffering every 30 seconds. But this is ridiculous. It reminded me of the original Harry Potter game on Playstation1. That's how much it hurt to look at. This is not what I expect from a game on the same platform as The Last Of Us. I can excuse the fact that there's a 3DS version, you expect the graphics to be weaker for a smaller screen but for PlayStation it's just unbearable.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Adventures in Strasbourg EYE 2014

For the next few days I'm incredibly proud to be part of the European Youth Event (EYE) being held in Strasbourg. Being part of the select group of young people representing the British Youth Council (BYC) is so exciting.

This evening I got to meet the group from over the UK and we spoke about the goals of the conference and also spoke about our place within the EU. It's going to be exciting to meet nearly 5000 young people from all over Europe tomorrow. I can't wait to be able to see how young people are politically represented in different countries. I also want to know if there are many common issues throughout Europe, and if there are how can we work together to resolve them?

Most of all, we need to increase the voter turnout amongst young people. We need to find out why more than half of the young people in Europe don't engage with elections, especially with the European elections later this month. If certain countries have a better turnout we need to look to them as an example to ensure young people get a fair representation throughout Europe.

BYC are currently leading a campaign which I recommend everyone look at called The League Of Young Voters. This campaign aims to get 1.2 million more young people voting by the end of 2015. Increase the #votepower and the tweet issues important to you.

I'll be arriving for Day 1 of the EYE tomorrow and hopefully we'll see some positive change come from this event!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

More like "Sadoka Tragica."

When I'm in the middle of projects, particularly in the more stressful periods of the process, I like to take time out to watch some anime that doesn't require too much attention and brain power on my part. This is usually when I fall back on my anime-roots of magical girls such as Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. Both are fantastic shows which you don't need to think about too much to know what's going on and I find them really fun for relaxing when stressed.

During one my stressful projects I decided to take a break and see what Puella Magi Madoka Magica was all about. I'd seen a lot of imagery about the show the last few months and I finally looked it up to see it was only 12 episodes long. Perfect! Or so I thought.

Magical girl anime shows are fantastic in my opinion. They're a bit of cute fun with charming animal sidekicks, brightly coloured costumes you never get to see in real life, transformation sequences with catchy music and often ridiculously optimistic personalities which are refreshing to see every now and then, especially when stressed with everyday life.

So when this is the primary promotional image for the anime, you would think this would be similar? Bright costumes, animal sidekick, mostly smiling faces...?

This series has taught me to never judge an anime by its promo image.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Thoughts on Assassin's Creed 3

There will be spoilers throughout this post.
I finally finished Assassin's Creed 3 and I can't help feeling very underwhelmed. When it first came out I was excited; the art looked beautiful, the time period sounded like an exciting leap and in my opinion, it couldn't be worse than Revelations. Enjoy a very quick summary of my Assassin's Creed game opinions (I haven't played the DS spinoff games so they aren't included):
  • AC: A great game with a decent enough plot, however it became repetitive quickly and so the latter half was more tedious than it should have been. Ending was odd; don't like Desmond.
  • AC2: Fantastic. Took what was great in the original title and improved upon it tenfold. My only complaint was that stupid flying mission. And the ending was silly again. Go away Desmond.
  • AC Brotherhood: Somehow even better than AC2. I get to have my own gang of assassins? Awesome! I get to climb around one of the greatest cities in the world? Super awesome! I don't have any complaints about this game. Except for Desmond.
  • AC Revelations: More of an epilogue to Brotherhood than an actual sequel. Yes, the city and culture was interesting but they didn't really bring anything new to gameplay. The hookblade wasn't great and making/using new bombs was tedious and frustrating. This game was more emotional for the character of Ezio getting old than really progressing the overall AC plot. Overall, this wasn't a great game. Desmond is annoying.
  • AC Liberation: I played this about half way through AC3. I loved the idea of a female assassin and being able to disguise yourself depending on the mission was great. It also had new weapons specifically for that game so it brought something new to gameplay. Also, no Desmond! Ubisoft are finally hearing my complaints! 
So when AC3 was announced with a brand new character and time period, I was excited since it was time for change in the assassin's universe. But once it came out, the problems appeared.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Figure Speedpaint

Tonight I decided to attempt a half hour speedpaint. The results?

Not bad!

Overall I'm just shocked at how fast the half hour went by. Turns out I'm a lot slower at painting in photoshop than I thought, so there's a lot of work to be done to improve this.

I will definitely be doing more of these speedpaints in the future and I'm happy I was able to block in this figure with some basic shading. Better luck next time for details though. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

First Character Model

So as part of my uni work, I created my first character model! Techically I suppose it's my second, but we don't talk about first year. Seriously, I didn't even know what UV texture maps were so lord knows how I managed to texture that disaster-model.

But looking to the future and the positives, I created a character to go in a medieval village game environment I'm working on as part of Team Celt at uni. The environment looks like it's going to be great, I'll make a post about that when I have a bit more to show. 

The character was originally going to be a female alchemist character in a more fantasy Skyrim-ish world but that look wasn't easy to show without some kind of explanation to go alongside her. 

I settled for a medieval worker which I was able to texture and rig with only a handful of breakdowns, success!

Here's some renders!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

How To Start A Blog

Everyone has their own methods of doing things. Some people can hit the ground running; some take the extra time to carefully consider their actions. Others, like myself, have to write a short philosophical post about the difficulty of starting the activity as a method of beginning it.

Procrastination level up!

Well I suppose this isn't technically procrastination, although I am currently watching TV while writing. Taking the time to write this instead of immediately posting what I want to be on this blog is helping me realise what I want to gain from this blog as a whole. 

I want my blog to be where I can informally share my ideas and opinions. I want to post my work as an artist, rant and review about the things I care about, share work I find inspiring and generally have a small online creative outlet.

I'm excited to see where this goes so to kick it all off, here's some of my older work from my A-Levels and Foundation.

Acrylic Paint