Night Fox – Comic Post #090: A Change Of Plans

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Hmm… These blueprints are being brought up again? Perhaps I actually plan to go somewhere with these… Who knows? Oh well. They’re not going to be brought up for a while though, as I foolishly decided to make the next bunch of comics be pretty much all filler! …There’s going to be an overarching story here, eventually, I swear… I just… Want to give the characters a chance to screw around and breath, and not just focus on moving on from one plot point to the next, you know?

Anyways, I finally ended up beating Tales of Berseria. The ending wasn’t quite as heart-wrenching as it could’ve been, and in a kind of esoteric way, it could be seen as a happy for some of the characters involved, but its still a bittersweet ending. That seems to be a trend lately with most recent Tales Of games. I just kind of hope they end up bucking that soon with the next one and have just a straight up happy ending for once. Please? I mean, the characters usually end up going through so much crap, that they end up deserving happy endings once in a while… But at any rate, having now beaten the game, my opinion on it is still more or less that same: if you’re a JRPG fan, you should get it… ’cause its a good game for what it is… and the characters are enjoyable and cool and stuff… and the story is pretty nifty and junk, not 100% original, but still a good story…

All rambling aside, I’ll see you next comic.

Art Post – 2 Year Anniversary

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Here’s to 2 years of Night Fox! And now, a little bit of introspection:

When I first started this comic, I began with some very lofty aspirations for how it would go, and how popular it would end up getting. Looking where I’m at right now currently… I have to say, back then, I was very naive and I needed to have my expectations tempered.

I had drawn comics before in my spare time all throughout high school, though I think I had been drawing comics all the way back as early as elementary school. Anyways, they were never anything all too special, and my drawing capabilities were extremely lacking back then compared to now, but when I showed them to my friends, they were usually pretty impressed and I got a fair amount of laughs out of the jokes I had made. I got content with the mild praise I got for my comics in high school, and just sort of didn’t really do anything else with them once I graduated. I went onto community college immediately after the summer I graduated, where I hit a few speed bumps. All of the friends I had gotten over the years of attending public school just sort of, went away. I only stayed in contact with 1 or 2 of them for maybe a semester before I sort of gave up contacting them. My fellow classmates in college were more or less all strangers to me at that point. It was because of that, that I sort of lost my drive to do any more comics for a while, because after all, I didn’t have any friends to show them off to, so why bother?

From there, I took a 9 month break from community college after a semester and a half to go attend a “special” trade school of sorts. When I first started taking classes in college, I didn’t really have much of a focus for what I wanted to end up doing (I mostly wanted to just keep doing art related stuff, but I knew I was probably never going to get money doing that), so my mom said I should learn at least some kind of practical skill to make it easier to get a job, which is why I went to the trade school until I could sort those things out. It was the first time I had lived away from home, and it is there that I tried my hand at learning computer repair. The only problem was, living at that school was the worst experience of my life. I hated my roommates and most of the other students. The only people I got along with were the other people in the computer repair program, but they weren’t enough to make me feel like I wasn’t rotting away at that place. So I tried to finish up my program there as fast as I could. What resulted was that I learned enough to pass the program, but not enough to actually do computer repair properly. I did managed to get certified, but I had so little confidence in my abilities, that I never ended up doing anything with that certification. It was 9 months pretty much wasted at a school that felt more like a prison at times, and to make matters worse: I still didn’t know what I wanted to do once I went back to attending community college again.

Thankfully, some of my initial hang ups with community college went away once I got back. For starters, I didn’t have to walk 30 minutes to get to my classes any more, because I was able to get my driver’s license and a car. My older brother had also ended up moving back in after he got fed up with living in Florida, so it wasn’t just me and my mom anymore back at home. More importantly, with my brother moved back in, I finally had someone else to bounce comic ideas off of again. I eventually settled into the course I had first picked when attending college, as I saw it was pretty much the best option for me, that course being Graphic Design. I had gotten a lot more comfortable talking to my other classmates, so I didn’t feel the need to keep to myself in my classes any more. And as a result, I wasn’t as nervous showing people stuff I had been drawing. I wasn’t as good as I am now (and right now, I’m not too afraid to admit I’m still pretty average), but my drawings were good enough to them to earn me some praise. A lot of people said that I should start posting stuff online. I knew that was logically the next step, but I still didn’t feel ready for that at that point.

I dragged my feet for a couple of months on the idea of getting a presence online, but I never really acted on it until eventually I was required to start a blog for one of my classes. If you had been following the comic from the beginning, you’d know that that class blog would eventually transform into this one. It might not have been as idle of a start as I had wanted, but in the end, I had finally gotten myself to post some of my artwork online. I started off bright eyed and beaming about the possibility of my comic being able to reach so many people, but, as I stated earlier, I set my expectations way too high.

The comic did not really take off all that fast, and I didn’t actually have any idea how to do a web comic in the slightest. I didn’t have an optimal setup for how to arrange the panels, or how to set up the speech bubbles, and I never saved the files in a web-friendly resolution, so the comics ended up being massive. I used to, and still do, make a lot of typos that I only end up catching after I finish uploading things. And I still cannot nail a consistent look for the comic, having changed the general layout and how much detail  I put into the comics at least 4 times (ie, whether or not I do backgrounds, whether or not I do shading, or even whether or not I just do everything in pencil). In those first 2 years, there were so many times that I just wanted to give up on the whole thing, because it just felt so pointless as nobody was even reading the thing, with there being stretches of entire months where it seemed like even the people who were following the blog had stopped bothering. And to be perfectly honest, there are still times where I want to just give up on the whole thing now. But at least now, if I decided to give up, it would only be so that I could start over again now that I have some idea of how to actually make a web comic.

I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t think I’ll end up truly giving up on doing a comic online. I’ll only end up stopping so that I can do it better my next go. And sure, while things have been slow, and nobody leaves any comments to tell me what they like or don’t like about the comic, at least I’m still getting likes, and still getting new people following the blog, which tells me at least people are reading. As slow as the pace that I’m going is, I’m still getting followers each month, and even if it’s only one person a month, it still enough for me. I also still get really excited and happy whenever I get just a single like. The knowledge that someone still wants to read my comic is what truly makes me happy about doing this. And while I’m not sure how reliable WordPress’s stats are, I can still tell I’m growing, and not just stagnating into obscurity. After my first year, I only had 52 likes, and maybe some 10 followers. Now, as of typing this, I’ve gotten 169 likes and 39 followers. It’s not a huge increase over the first year, but it definitely is an improvement, and it’s all thanks to you guys.It can take a long time to build yourself up, but so long as things keep going at this rate, sooner or later, I think Night Fox can get there. You just have to remember, pretty much everything started off with a humble beginning…

Anyways, I feel like I said most of what I wanted to say, so until then, I’ll see you next post.

 

 

Night Fox – Comic Post #089: Survivor’s Guilt

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Hey look! I did a comic that’s not funny! Pretty much at all! And this time it was actually intentional! Ain’t that crazy? Who knows what kind of CRAZY comic I might do next!? Ahahahahahahaha….!

*cough*

Yes… At any rate… Not much else to talk about this week. I did get to play a shit ton more Tales of Berseria since the last update. I’m fairly certain that I could’ve beaten the game by now if I had focused on doing the story, but I sort of procrastinated doing side quests and getting collectibles. That’s mostly because I have this nagging feeling that the game is going to have a fairly bittersweet ending and I’ve gotten so attached to the main cast that I don’t want to see anything bad happen to them in the end… So I held off on going to the final dungeon until I could mentally prepare myself for that eventuality. Heh… Look at this guy, getting emotionally invested in a video game to the point that he needs some time to accept a potentially unhappy ending… WHAT A NERD, AM I RIGHT YOU GUYS!?

…But overall, the game is still holding up to my expectations of being one of the best Tales of games I’ve played, with Velvet actually topping Yuri as the best main character in the series. (At least in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, Yuri is still a pretty cool dude, but Velvet’s character arc I found to be a lot more interesting and easier to get emotionally invested in. Plus, being a hot chick definitely helps) So basically, I’m still at the point where I can feel confident recommending the game to anyone who wants a good story with great  characters that’s very well presented despite having a much lower budget than something like say Final Fantasy or Persona.

Anyways, I guess one bit of actually news is that I finished the anniversary drawing, so that should definitely be up in time for the 2 year anniversary (which is on February 20th if you’re like me and don’t have it committed to memory, because let’s face it, why should you?). Now, time will tell if I can actually think of some profound and insightful words to go alongside that picture… Probably not, but then again, I’ve been know to surprise myself at times. Until then, I’ll see you next comic.

 

 

Night Fox – Comic Post #088: Rectification

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Hooray! More villain shenanigans! A couple more comics like these, and it just might start to feel like there’s an actual threat to our main characters! …At some point…

And, in case you’re wondering why Ripper’s head “juices” aren’t red, it’s because he doesn’t have any blood inside of him. And because there’s no blood, that makes his entire head being crushed like an apple completely okay and family friendly! …Right…?

Also, more hand puns and a skeleton who can blink, but that’s besides the point…

Now we’re finally moving onto the one-off comic territory for a little bit now, so I do have to remind myself to be a little bit more on top of writing up scripts than I usually am… Which, knowing me, is probably not going to really happen, but hey, I can dream. At least I’m still on the ball with the anniversary picture: I just have 1 more drawing to finish the shading on, and then I’ll have the whole thing finished. So hey, still good on that front.

Anyways. this week’s been another slow one for me (As of typing this, I haven’t gotten another chance to play Tales of Berseria again, which makes me sad ;_; because I REALLY want to continue the story!), so I don’t have really anything else to say, so until then, I’ll see you next comic.

Night Fox – Comic Post #087: A Scheme From The Shadows

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Another day, another comic that’s pretty much just an expositional word dump… Because I haven’t been doing THAT enough times in the past.

So, my life is still in that constant state of nothing important happening in it, so I’m going to ramble on about the game I played for most of Sunday and Monday to fill in this post’s required ramble quota. I spent about a combined 24 hours playing the newest Tales of game, Tales of Berseria while I was visiting my brother those two days (as he has a PS4, and I don’t). I got nowhere close to beating it, but I still want to give my initial impressions, because why the fuck not?

As someone who has been playing the series since Symphonia, I have to say, so far, Berseria could pretty easily be in the top 5 entries to the series. The story has been pretty damn engaging from the first hour, and the all of the characters have been enjoyable and interesting. The biggest strength of the game’s story I feel, is the fact that it so far has been really different from most typical Tales of stories. You’re not trying to save the world, you’re just trying to get revenge, and damned be anybody who gets in your way. And to make it even more interesting, the guy you’re trying to get revenge on, is more or less viewed as the savior of humanity whom everyone pretty much loves. That really changes up the dynamic of your party, as most of you are murderers and criminals who are pretty much only traveling together because they’re all useful to each other in some way or another. And yet, most of your party still manages to be very sympathetic. You just want them to succeed at what they do because the guys they’re going up against are just the right kind of smug and smarmy “good guys”. The main character, Velvet, in particular, I really feel for, considering the game goes to pretty good lengths to show you how nice and caring of a person she was before the guy she wants to kill royally screwed up her life in order to make the world “better” for everyone else. Her transformation from a sweet village girl who just wanted to look after her younger brother, to a cold uncaring LITERAL monster who devours people with her demonic left hand hellbent on revenge is quite chilling, and really makes her a great main character. Her plight by itself was enough to get me invested into the story. Throw in the rest of the pretty interesting cast, and you’ve got a story that could potentially top the other entries in the series (namely Symphonia, Abyss, and Vesperia, which I consider the top 3 in no particular order).

As to the actual game play, it uses a system for its combat kind of like Godhand, if you ever played that game, where you learn individual moves that you can assign to certain hits in your attack strings so that you can essentially make your own combos. It’s not my favorite combat system for the series (that would go to Tales of Xillia 2, purely because I’m a sucker for team attacks, which that game has in spades), but I can certainly see some people really enjoying it. The stage that I’m at in the game, I have mostly been able to get by by more or less move spamming, though I have had to use some strategy changes for a couple of the bosses. Though, to be fair, I have been playing on the default difficulty, which I’m sure is pretty lenient when it comes to combat. I think this is also mostly just a result of Velvet being a very beginner friendly character to play as, and I’ve been playing her mostly. Playing as the other characters, you do have to be a little bit more intelligent with your attacks. All in all, the combat is still fun and is still probably among one of the better combat systems the series has had.

There are some problems with the game, but so far, they’re mostly nick picks. The music isn’t particularly memorable, but it isn’t god awful either. The level layouts are kind of bland and very much copy pasted, but that has been a problem with the series since Graces where they kind of stopped caring about how the levels were designed, though on the plus side, making the areas more generic did make them easier and faster to navigate through, so I’ve kind of made my peace with that. I think my biggest problem so far, is that backtracking in this game makes it feel kind of slow at times. I can’t really defend that, as I even found it kind of tedious at points, but it hasn’t ruined the game for me yet.

Overall, despite not having beaten the game yet, I’m fairly confident with my first impressions of the game that it’s a very good game.I think that if you own a PS4, and you like JRPGs, you won’t regret getting this one. And if you’ve never played a Tales of game, don’t worry: aside from a couple of nods here and there to the older games, the story is more or less self contained and has a lot of fairly non-intrusive tutorials for beginners to the series. To summarize all of that: I like the game so far, and if you’re even a quarter of the nerdy weeb I am, you probably won’t regret playing it.

Now that that’s out of the way, the anniversary post is about 85% done at this point. Everything is colored at this point, and I just have to do the shading for 4 of the drawings, with 2 of them now being completely done. I feel safe in saying that I’m probably going to have everything done by the time the anniversary comes around. At any rate, now that I’m done gushing about the latest entry to one of my favorite video game franchises, I’ll see you next comic.

(FUN FACT TIME: Kaz and Tenebrae’s designs were heavily inspired by characters from the Tales of series. Kaz’s design was inspired by Guy from Tales of the Abyss, while Tenebrae was based off of a character with the same name from Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Also, I cannot deny the fact that the basic plot of Night Fox has some superficial similarities to Tales of Xillia’s plot, where a male human teenager with black hair teams up with a much older female Spirit with blonde hair to more or less fight crime. Though in my defense, I had the idea for Night Fox as a story well before Xillia or it’s sequel came out, also, I am exaggerating the similarities a little bit, but still, I had a bit of a chuckle about my “lack of originality” when playing Xillia for the first time.)