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Over the last two weeks, I have done the following -
1. Effectively ended the current semester.
2. Left my job.
3. Gotten a new job in my field of study.
4. Began regular animation streaming on Twitch.
I'm getting up on that high again. Life is once again an adventure and I'm finally feeling more like my old self. I don't know what the next few years will bring, but I know it's not going to be the same as the last few. Definitely an improvement.
VG Exiles 4 definitely won't be out by the end of the year, but I'm getting closer now. Bit by bit. Little by little. You might even see some of it come together if you visit my Twitch channel. Regular friday nights with the possibility of additional weekdays during this semester break. On my Twitch channel. Here.
Allow me to pimp it one more time for good measure - Twitch channel.
There, I'm done. For now...
It's been about six weeks since my last news post and I must admit that develoment on VGE4 has been less than ideal. The glorious and productive high of "Fuck CE-Rap Week" was pretty much the last time I had the energy to put any real work into the project. Sure, I did a little here and there, but the marathon animation sessions and Twitch streaming were the first things to go once both mother nature and my workplace decided to spend six weeks punching me in the dick.
Joining the first shift at work made animation easier at first. I had pretty much the whole day after work to do whatever I wanted. However, my workplace entered peak season pretty much immediately after that last news post and everything has since gone to hell.
First of all, summer. Fuck summer in Kentucky. It's just the most awful kind of hot, humid, sticky, swamp-ass bullshit that leaves you wanting nothing more than to strip down to your sweat-soaked underwear and stand spread-eagled in front of your air conditioner like a reptile trying to sun itself until you pass out and sleep standing up like a horse. That kills productivity.
Next, I have the sleep-murdering combination of workplace peak season and the current fall semester. I've had to drag my sleep-deprived ass into work at 4am each Saturday for no worthwhile reason. That leaves me only half-charged through the weekend. Plus, it kills Friday night for animation. My school schedule leaves me with little sleep time Monday - Thursday.
I COULD get a lot more done, but between the Saturdays fucking up my sleep schedule and the hot-ass climate keeping me in the one air-conditioned room I got (the one with the bed), I've been doing little more than coming home and crashing between work shifts and classes.
I'm hoping this Saturdaty shit goes away in the next couple of weeks. That would be a step in the right direction. Until then, I'm probably not going to be getting the kind of animation productivity I would have otherwise hoped for.
Oh, hey, look at that. It's the end of the news post. Crashing in 3... 2... 1...
Those of you who have been following me for a while might know the importance of July 13th. Today is the second annual "Fuck CE-Rap Day", a personal day of festivities wherein I celebrate the excision of the sociopathic human cancer blob known as CE-Rap from my life.
Gonna get some pizza, some booze, play some games, do some animation... whatever I feel like. Hell, I might just stream some of it later on tonight over on my Twitch Channel.
Drop by later on tonight if you want to watch a lightweight get hammered and attempt to animate or play video games. I'll be using that channel to show progress on VGE4 in the coming months, so be sure to follow/subscribe.
I don't have a regular schedule yet and the process of sprite animation is boring as hell, so be forewarned. I do usually have some kick-ass music playing, so there's that.
Anyway, have an awesome day! ...unless you're CE-Rap. Then you can spend the day huffing cattle farts on Fuck You Ranch.
I was hoping to have enough done on VGE4 to throw together a trailer by the second annual "Fuck CE-Rap Day" (July 13th!), but that's probably not in the cards at the rate I'm going.
I've finished half of the story scenes for VGE4, and what's left shouldn't be too complicated. However, motivation is a fickle thing. When I rock, I roll. When I stop, I crash. At least I'm not buried under depression the way I was this time last year. I've started a new job assignment and that's keeping things kind of fresh while I wait out the summer semester. I should be doing a lot more animating than I'm doing now.
To that end, I've decided to take some timely advice from @MysticSkillz and start a Twitch channel. Maybe it can help focus me if I stream some of my work every once in a while. I just have to remember to keep spoilers off the screen. ...and wear pants if I use a webcam. ...and clear my browser history. Naturally.
Feel free to drop by and offer some encouragement. ... or berate me for taking so damn long to get this thing done. I'll take anything I can get at this point.
...just don't expect it to be terribly exciting. This is a long and super-boring process. Also don't expect regular scheduling. It's going to be one of those "when I feel like it" things.
Tomorrow evening, maybe?
-- UPDATE: This was a really really REALLY good idea. Truckloads of productivity. Gonna have to do this more often... --
I probably could have posted this update a few weeks ago, but I thought it would be best to make sure 2016 got tapped twice in the chest and once in the head before I showed back up again. I'm sure a majority of people would agree that it's been a bad year.
I'm sure an alternate-universe version of myself somewhere met his goal of having VG Exiles Episode 4 done by the end of the year. I'm sure he's celebrating having already broken ground on his new series. Maybe he's already gotten into the choreo on VGE5. Maybe he's already got FAIL 3 out.
Too bad I'm not him right now.
I find myself having a really difficult time carrying momentum. I haven't made significant progress since my last update and that realization just seems to create a feedback loop of misery and failure. I sat at a full stop for well over a month and any motivation I ever gathered would just fade away as quickly as it appeared. It doesn't seem to matter that I'm sitting on something super-cool that's never been done before. VGE4 has been in the works for going on six years now and I'm SUPER tired of it. Mostly I'm tired of the memories and it doesn't help that I have a minimum of a couple month's worth of work left to do on it. I really REALLY want to put it behind me and I can't allow myself to skimp on the production. It's a bad situation all around.
Hopefully, I can get some traction in the next couple of weeks when I start school back. It was a good boost during my last semester, but it didn't last very long. It's not hard to think of other things I'd rather be doing during my between-class time than animating a project I'm less-than-enthusiastic about. Hell, I'd consider it a victory just to bring myself to open the program at least once each day.
I find myself spending an unhealthy amount of time playing Titanfall 2 and wishing death upon my ex-partner. It's been almost two years since that whole fiasco ended and I still don't have closure. I still can't get past it. I want that fucker dead and buried and forgotten. Even the fact that I'm stil letting this bother me even now bothers me.
...and it's not even like I'm swamped with projects anymore. I'm doing a collab right now, but that's hardly a serious drain on my time. Also, I've cancelled all of my unfinished side projects. So I'm not sure what's holding me back anymore. It can't just be my burning desire to pull a "Negan" on CE-Rap. It can't just be fatigue with VGE4. It's gotta be something else and I just can't nail it down.
Anyway, enough rambling. VGE4 will be done when it's done. I'll just have to make better use of whatever motivation I can muster in 2017 and hope that I can at least get it done before Trumpageddon kills the internet.
In the meantime, I've decided to go ahead and share what remains of a couple of my old projects. They have been completely and permanently cancelled, so I suppose there's no harm in putting them out there for those of you who still bother to check this page out. I'll start with just one for right now -
Duck King vs. Shen Woo
Fair warning, this is beta as hell and the VCAM might be fucked up.
It was going to be a standalone tag-team fight from way WAY back. Like "I made it when CE-Rap disappeared for months on end during Hurricane Sandy" way back. So, super-old and super-primitive. In more recent times, I was not yet willing to scrap it and instead wrote it into the storyline of a new series I had planned. Eventually, I realized that it was just too obsolete and make the whole story much too convoluted. I couldn't let myself worry about this project when I had so many other things with much higher priority.
It's several months down the drain, but I'm ready to accept that now. I'll cannibalize whatever bits I can and trash the rest. So, I guess take whatever enjoyment you can out of it. It's now officially abandoned. My way of saying "Sorry, I don't have another screenshot of VGE4 because motivation is lacking and I'm sick of acting like I'm making progress when I'm struggling to get even the simplest of tasks done. So here's ...something?"
- - - - -
Oh, and I probably won't be releasing VGE4 on Newgrounds when it's done, anyway. This site has gotten so uptight with musical copyright issues that I no longer feel that it's safe to continue releasing videos here. Doing so might even jeopardize my earlier releases. VGE1 was already taken down and I can't risk having a site full of flagging busybodies descend on all of my old videos. I just can't take that chance.
So, this will remain as a very occasional blog until such time as I get back on my feet and find a new place to host my work. I'll let you guys know when that time comes. In the meantime, Newgrounds is dead as a venue for any of my future projects. Sorry, Tom Fulp. I know you have your reasons for this copyright crackdown, but I just can't get behind it. The era of "Everything by Everyone" is done.
- - - - -
Please wish me luck, folks. I definitely need it.
September 20th will be the five-year-anniversary of the release of VG Exiles Episode 3... Kind of hard to believe it's been that long. It seems like only yesterday that I was Skyping with my art director and putting together big big plans for the future.
...which sucked. Fuck those days.
Right now I'm much more interested in finally getting VGE4 done. I'm still hoping to have it finished by the end of the year. No promises, though. I have so far underestimated the level of intricate detail work I would be compelled to do and even the "simple" story scenes are turning out to be super-complicated. That's not a bad thing, it's just a time-consuming thing.
I'm back in my classes now and have plenty of time for animating between them and my work shift. As shitty and depressing as my last semester off was, I've decided that I must remain continuously enrolled until I meet my academic goals. Summers, winters, everything. I can't afford to fall back into that hole again. So, day-by-day I chug along. Some days are more productive than others. At least now I'm thinking more about the projects and less about whatever little bullshit distractions I put up for myself.
I think it will also be helpful that I've already begun animating VGE5. I'll be able to jump straight into the choreo for VGE5 as soon as VGE4 drops. ...or maybe I'll do another FAILtality. ...or maybe work on something entirely new. So many choices...
I had hoped to be a bit further along with the VGE4 story scenes by this point, but I'm not gonna kick myself too hard over it. Any progress is good progress given the last few years. I'm just glad to finally be back in the race, even if I'm still hobbling along with a twisted ankle.
If I could go back in time and tell my VGE2-era self that I would be doing some of my most intricate sprite work ever for a chess game between two characters in a story scene, he wouldn't believe it. Then he'd probably go for his shotgun thinking I were an alien trying to kill him and take his place. He's paranoid like that.
Fortunately, I would have already fled the scene whilst performing the Curly Whoop. That's probably why I should never be granted the power of time travel.
...aaaaanywho... back to the grind I go.
Apologies in advance if this post starts to lose cohesion. I've already started drinking to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the day I finally stood up for myself and told CE-Rap to fuck off. It didn't happen immediately, but July 13th was the day we had our final confrontation and I put into motion the process of forcibly extracting that mooching, sociopathic douchebag from my life and home.
I'm enjoying a pizza, having a few drinks, and writing a news post. So far, so good.
I've had a year to process that entire period of my life and I can't say that the rage has abated. Before I met and lived with the dude, I had never experienced depression. Not one day in my life. Now, post-Rap, that's a daily struggle. I have a much harder time bringing myself back to the animating table since he poisoned it for me with his controlling, manipulative, self-serving bullshit. That's not some shit you just forgive and move on from. It drills in deep and it corrupts everything. I can still animate like crazy and enjoy it, but CE-Rap took something from me that I so far have had limited success recovering. Those scars run deep.
I have no idea where he is or what he's doing. I like to think that he took a wrong turn on a mountain road somewhere on the way back to New York and got mauled to death by a family of bobcats, but that's probably just wishful thinking. More likely, he just found some other sucker to mooch off of and is currently putting them through mental and emotional upheaval for his own benefit (as sociopaths are wont to do).
That said, I occassionally check his DeviantArt page for signs of life. Mostly because the moment I catch the faintest whiff of him online I'm going to pulverize whatever remains of his tattered, beshitted, fucking reputation. He's probably not stupid enough to ever use that name again, but I remain ever watchful. Woe be to the poor bastard who shows up bearing a similar artistic style.
Fire and fury. Blood and death. My entire, ENTIRE force of hate shall descend upon him. One year, two years, fifty years, doesn't matter. The name "CE-Rap" is forever fucked. If he ever comes back, I will find him, I will destroy him, and I will give his broken corpse the proper public assfucking that he so thoroughly deserves.
You're fucking done, Carl. Done.
My personal guarantee.
- - - - -
On a less fire-and-brimstone note, I'm almost finished with VG Exiles Episode 4. I've got all the story sets ready to go and I'm just waiting for the voiceover crew to get their lines back to me. Once I get those, it might be a quick as a couple of weeks before I have a working prototype. Story builds way quicker than fight choreo, even with custom spriting.
I used to rely on artists to deliver the complicated story stuff, but now I have the sprite editing skills I need to do it all myself. It may not be quite as pretty, but it'll get the job done. Full lip-synching, full custom motions, everything. I can do it all now. All by myself.
You guys will be able to see what the future holds when VGE4 eventually drops. It represents five years of developement packed into one single movie and I think it bodes well for the future of the series. I can do anything now. Absolutely anything.
- - - - -
VGE4 takes place a few months after the events of VGE3 and you just might notice a few new faces wandering around Panoptichron...
VGE4 is coming soon. I can't promise any specific dates, but it's on the way.
Well, Pico Day has come and gone. As I write this, there are likely still people at the office partying it up. I, however, have just finished the 11-hour drive back to Kentucky. I'm ready to take a double-shot of NyQuil, pass out, and enjoy the final few days of the vacation week I had set aside for this
This was my first Pico Day and it was quite a bit more than I had expected. I'm normally not too great with large social gatherings so it was a bit overwhelming. I had never met any of these people in person before and really only knew a handful of them by reputation. All of which was far greater than my own. I might be able to animate the shit out of some sprites, but right then I was surrounded by some real top talent. Lots of animators, musicians, voice actors, and other people of great ability talking about a myriad of different subjects about which I had little to nothing to say. So, a lot of my time at the beginning was just wandering around looking at things and trying not to look like too much of a dope.
I definitely got the sense that I DESPERATELY need to learn how to draw something. It's kind of hard to be asked what you do and not be able to show an immediate example. "Sprite animator" is not exactly the kind of answer I want to give in that situation. Especially when I haven't done anything to warrant recognition over the last few years.
Still, despite my awkwardness, everyone there was SUPER COOL. I chatted up @TomFulp a few times and I must give him props for being a spectacular host. I know crazy events like Pico Day have to be a major strain and he handles it like a fucking champ.
Anyway, it took me a little while to find a groove. But that groove did come.
I met and chatted with a whole lot of awesome people and I won't get into all the details here. Not trying to write a book. I will say that I definitely look forward to doing this again. Next time, though, I'll be much better prepared...
Oh, and also...
The fighters are finally revealed and I promise that this will be like nothing you've ever seen before.
Time for me to get to work!
(...after a good night's sleep, of course. I'm fuuuuuuuuuucking exhausted...)
Okay, so... I've decided to go to Newgrounds HQ for Pico Day weekend. @MysticSkillz talked me into it...
That's right. An irrelevant sprite animator who hasn't had a major action release since 2011 will be making the trip to Philadelphia in a sad attempt to rekindle a defunct animation hobby. I mean, who gives a shit, right? We all know that web series like the VG Exiles fall off the radar and get lost. After four and a half years of a bad partnership and lots of hype with little substance, what good could possibly...
. . .
. . . .
. . . . .
BOOM! FUCKING SCREENSHOT!
Yes, that is a three-story-tall dragon with a kunai jammed into its snout. Boy, does he look pissed...
After four and a half years of delays and sidetracks, VG Exiles Episode 4 is finally happening. At this moment, I have ten seconds' worth of choreo to do before the end of the fight. That's it. Ten more seconds and this half-a-decade-in-the-making fight will come to an end.
Now, I still have a long way to go. Finishing move, scripting, voices, story scenes, lip synching (yes, I said "lip synching"), and all that. I very highly doubt that this will be ready for upload by the beginning of May, but I can most certainly have the fight section spit-polished and ready to pimp out by then. Maybe it can show up on the Pico Day stream. Maybe not. Maybe I can just screen the fight for those in attendance...
At the very least, it should keep @Tom Fulp distracted long enough for me to swipe some office supplies.
So... see you guys in Philly, maybe?
I'm back in school now. I've become a non-traditional student at the local tech college and I'm pursuing a diploma in HVAC. I guess this is what happens when your life turns sour and you decide that enough is enough. You make drastic changes.
Now, one might think that going back to school would leave less time for animating. That might be true in later semesters, but right now this has turned into a major boon for VGE4. I have a solid two-hour block between the end of my latest class and the time I have to roll into work. That is time that I have dedicated to animating and it has been amazingly helpful. I've been getting way more done in the college library than at my own desk at home.
I just go in, find an isolated spot in a corner somewhere, and animate on my laptop. It's quiet and there aren't any distractions. Just me and Flash. Getting stuff done.
Anyway, just thought I'd give you guys a small update. I had kind of stalled over the last month with my animations, but this new block of dedicated time is reinvigorating me. I might need to start going there on my off days just for the productivity boost. It's way easier to get stuff done when you're not at your home computer being distracted by games, food, YouTube, alcohol, a bed five feet away, and porn.
So... yeah. VGE4 is coming. No release date in mind, but it's being worked on.
. . .