Simon FitzKit...In The Field!

One Vision: PlayStation Buttons

January 5, 2009
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While visiting family in Columbia, SC, I stumbled across an advertisement for an upcoming art exhibit called “Different Perspectives, One Vision.” The point seemed to be pairing senior citizens with college students and having them work together to create some kind of finished viewable photography piece (the exact nature of the work was unclear from the ad).

However, inspiration struck, and I’ve invited several people to join in posting our own (humbly, more creativity-stimulating) version of the exhibit: each week, we’ll have a challenge to take 4-8 pictures that depict the various parts of a pre-agreed set. One picture per piece, all pictures have to be have been personally taken by the submitter that week, and we’ll agree on a layout ahead of time so that we’ll have a generally easy time of matching each submitter’s depiction of each piece of the set.

Sounds more complicated than it is. Here’s this week’s One Vision:

WEEK 1: PlayStation Buttons.
The PlayStation controller has four specialized buttons:
* Triangle
* Square
* Circle
* X
Take a photograph that depicts each of these; the final layout is the same as their layout on the PlayStation controller.


And here’s my submission (click for full-size):

And other submissions:
T Hobgood (who’s obviously a better photographer than I): Gamer’s Got The Munchies

J Scronce’s:

More to come?


The Dragon*Pros Are Far Outweighed.

September 4, 2008

This past weekend, Dragon*Con took over half of Atlanta (the Underdark half, if you were wondering), and that means thousands of my nerdly brethren descended on every hotel in a ten-block radius of wherever Nathan Fillion was standing at the time, and that 8/9 of those thousands came in costume.

Costume. The word calls to mind equal parts ‘Halloween’ and ‘a theatrical production,’ which –8/9 of the time– translates to ‘scary’ and ‘a flop.’ I kid, I kid. There certainly are an unbelievable number of amazing outfits present every year, showcasing just how many hundreds of dollars and manhours some people are willing to spend to be confused with a Sci-Fi Channel Original character actor. But then there are those poor souls who go that extra mile to call themselves out, to draw uncomfortable attention to their potato-sack body-type or their incomprehension of the fact that there is a time to stop mashing up concepts (See: Garth Vader, Darth Parton, Bart Vader, Darth Vedder, Darth Vader Zim, Perth Vader, Ollie North Vader, Darth Vanadium, Darth Vega, Darth Avida, Dorothy Vader, and…Hello Vader).

Oh, but pictures do help, don’t they? Let’s see who we have out on the floor…

Let’s steer around the Boba Fat jokes (Foba Bat?) and go straight to the problem of thinking that 2(Awesome) = Awesomer. Reese’s are the exception, not the rule. I mean, what would happen if Samuel L Jackson dressed up as Wesley Snipes? This. What would happen if Samuel L Jackson dressed up as Professor Xavier? This. What would happen if Samuel L Jackson dressed up as Nick Fury? This.
Plus, if you only look at him from the waist down (and I’m truly sorry to force that concept on you), he looks like the Dread Pirate Robert(s) …Bob, a Fat Pirate?… damn! So close.

Heh heh…Beavis, Beavis: …Co-Bra Commandos. Henh, henh…

Seriously though, I think these two were created by Gargamel to seduce the other Cobras into getting sloppy. And while it’s still unclear whether he wants to eat the Cobras or merely turn them into GI Gold, one think remains clear: Cobra Commander totally called dibs on a threesome.

Oh, I’m sorry, ma’am, Thunderdome Lasertag’s not until next week.

Actually, take a look at her trophies: torn hair clumps at the waistband, red plastic hat at the navel… oh god… Bitch scalped Howdy Doody.

Senator John Kerry, God of Mischief.

Didn’t I fuckin’ just. say., “Not nobody, not nohow?”

ALTERNATE COMMENTARY: Polio took its heaviest toll, however, on the steampunk genre.

And the DownLoadable Content for Team Fortress 2 continues with the “Victorian Safari Skins Pack.” Pictured here: Medic, Spy, Heavy, Scout, and Engineer. Bonus unlockables: The Blunderbuss, the Jumanji Board, and the Doctor Vatson.

Ah, cosplay: The only pastime where blackface is still okay.

Flipping your fins,
You don’t get too far.
Bet a stiff breeze
Knocked you
Don’t wear a costume
That hinders your
–what’s the word?–
You think you look neat,
But really, you’re dim. (Some)
guy snatches your shells,
How you gonna chase hiiiiiim?
Let me ask you
Waddle you do,
Pretty nerd…giiiiirl?


And Iron…Iron So Far Away

April 8, 2008

Project Rooftop, the blog that asks the question: “What if superheroes wore cooler outfits?” posted an Iron Man Redesign contest. Then my friend Sketch challenged several of us to enter.

Now, I’m no artist, but I did try my hand at a quick doodle. It’s probably not submission-worthy, but hey, this is my place; I get to post whatever I want.

Random Song Select

March 15, 2008
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I have been challenged!

My friend Ted posted this in his blog (and then emailed me a personal link to it as a pointed challenge).

A friend of his found a Photoshop game to keep graphically-inclined people occupied for hours. The game is to create an album cover using random elements.
Find a random phrase (using the Wikipedia Random Article function); that’ll be the band name.
Find a random quote (using a random quote generator); the last four words of the last quote on the page will be the album title.
Find a random picture (using Flickr’s Interesting Photos); the third photo will be the background image for the album.

Now build the album cover from those three pieces, making use of all your Photoshop skills.

I’ve been making them all night while I wait for other people or whenever I get a second. Here’s what I came up with:

Timeline of Afghanistan is heavily influenced by Evanescence, Linkin Park and the entire Dollar Bin at your local Indie CD store. They feel that they’ve got a lot to be sorry about, sorry for, and sorry in so far as. Their new CD is a concept album based on what the drummer’s troubled youth would have been like if he had tried just one more time to run away from home. Rider Specifications: four (4) bottles of L’Oreal Pox Black nail polish in each band member’s dressing room, one (1) bowl of flowers and one (1) hairdryer plugged in next to said bowl.

The Lee County, Florida Sheriff’s Office has been talking about putting out an album since 1983, when they first realized 3/4 of their officers had, at one time or another, learned how to play an instrument. It all came together when they needed to raise money to get to a crime-stoppers convention in Illinois and needed to make some money to afford plane tickets. Their first effort (and they had so much fun, they swear it won’t be their last) includes their hit single, “Off The Cuffs,” a tribute to Jimmy Buffet’s music and Lee County’s most notorious baddies. Rider Specifications: For the show to go on, there must be at least 30 kids under the age of 12 and/or 40 senior citizens over 60 in the audience.

Fur Seal plays Death Metal with no concern for the fact that a good 95% of the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse has been directly lifted from footage from their episode of Behind The Music. Their lead singer’s name is Körgin Billy. That’s not a typo or a pseudonym; his parents gave him that name at birth…along with his abdominal scars. Rider Specifications: Someone for the entire band to simultaneously hate, otherwise, they’ll turn on each other pre-concert like a pack of rabid opossums.

Anneli Jäätteenmäki’s Cabinet is a Swedish supergroup, made up of former members of Ace of Base, Abba, The Cardigans, The Hives and The Hellacopters, from before any of the groups became famous. The lead singer has a crush on Ian Anderson, and she hides his name in every one of the band’s songs: anagrams, acrostics, or just using the string of letters ‘-ian’ at the ends of words like ‘Canadian’ and ‘Edwardian.’ In fact, she’s hidden his name twice on the cover of this newest release; Christ, she’s like a demented Highlights editor. Rider Specifications: An open cash bar. Yes, it actually uses that phrase. Most venues assume it means they want to mix their own drinks and leave the money on the counter. No one’s complained yet.

Command History likes to think of themselves as Weezer-meets-Barenaked-Ladies, but really they’re just a cheap Smash Mouth knockoff. You know, like Sugar Ray. Rider Specifications: Glasses tape. They only wear their glasses on stage; they’ve all had Lasik. Really, guys? Really?

Varandinha is former Bollywood actress Varandinha Rajadhyaksha branching out to achieve mainstream international diva status. The only way to describe her music is kitschily catchy. Imagine if Shakira had been an Indian princess, and you’re almost there. Rider Specifications: Two (2) bottles of suntan lotion, One (1) copy of the latest Danielle Steel paperback, four (4) steak kabobs… she should probably just kiss Richard Gere and get it over with.

Château LaFleur is an all-bisexual 7-member French punk band that prides itself on the sheer number of permutations for in-band relationships it has to offer the media. They also are steadfastly anti-SETI, a sentiment echoed on their new CD. They believe that if/when humans and extraterrestrials talk/meet, we should let it be on their terms and stop wasting all this money on clogging up intergalactic communication frequencies. Also, they hated Jody Foster in Contact. Rider Specifications: Wall-to-wall pillow mats, Jacques Brel over the intercom, and 2 hours of uninterrupted sex time before and after each performance.

Wow. My bands spread out quite a bit, didn’t they? That’s show biz for you.

Mo Cap, Mo Problems

January 24, 2008
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The Shadow and I are working for Epic Games, doing Motion Capture for an as-of-yet unnameable project (i.e. The NDA I signed prevents me from saying what game we’re working on until they actually announce the title).

So I can’t tell you any specifics. However, I can go ahead and say: Mo Cap suits are hilarious, and I spent the entire day feeling like Jamie Madrox.

I get paid to do the most awesome things these days.

TTRPG: Thirty Thousand Rounds Per Gun

November 8, 2007
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2) 1000 Words (Training Wheels)
Ready for the next rung? Good. You’ve stolen someone else’s ready-made character and made some aesthetic changes. Now, why not steal something more tangible and less defined? Why not steal a picture of your character? Now, there are those who will now be asking, “But how do I find a picture of a character I haven’t made yet?” Simple: Find any picture that you think is awesome.


(Taken without permission from this deviantART page – Beloved-Creature, the artist, is on hiatus from the interblag. That is my excuse. Moving on.)

My suggestion is a drawing/painting as opposed to a photo, simply because photos tend to lead to one of two pitfalls:
1) a celebrity parody, which last, maybe, an hour before they stop being funny
2) You, Like Cliff Yablonski, Will Hate Them

So use a drawing. You’re much more likely to genuinely appreciate drawings. Good. Now that you’ve stolen the picture, what’s done is done, so stop feeling guilty or nervous of reprisal and just make a character out of it. First off, take your first impression of the picture…

Creepy, evil snowman stalking its lessers, who are only an inch tall.

…and set that in stone as a base for your character. The reason for making this step is that you picked this particular picture for a reason. If you don’t want to lose interest in your character, you should stay true to what attracted you to the drawing/photo in the first place.

Now, pick out details about that person/creature/chaaaaaaaraaaaacteeeer? by listing things you see in the portrait.

evil looking snowman
giant bad-ass wooden claws
no mouth
glowing yellow eyes – magical?
tiny snowmen, some scared of him, some happy, some falling down
top hat that looks like warped metal
dark and spooky woods with light fog
claws hovering over tiny snowman

Those details, paired with your first impression and the picture itself, make the three-legged barstool that your character will sit on (where they’ll most likely be served by Father Samuel Malronus). Now, flesh it out. Combine some details, insert some observations, and trust that your intuition will not lead you astray.

Once a wizard of incredible power, the creature now known as Cusp is a man’s soul inhabiting the shell of a Winter Solstice (enhanced version of an ice elemental). It hates its own kind, as it was tricked into its current state by one. The wizard, years ago, summoned a Solstice and tried to dominate its mind to bend the creature to his own will. The Solstice submitted…but only as a trick. With a wrench, the Solstice gave the wizard control of its body, but in return it took control of his. The wizard lost all of his magical powers and he –or rather, it, as the wizard’s sense of self stayed with his body– it had to spend years learning how to use the Solstice’s supernatural abilities. Now it (going by the name of Cusp) is able to create homunculus-like creatures in its own image and direct them to do its bidding. It has learned how to wield a Solstice’s natural ironwood claws with brutal efficiency, and it has but one goal: finding and killing its former body. Cusp no longer even knows why it hates the wizard so much, and it is unaware that killing the man would forever trap it in this icy shell.

There. A wizard’s mind trapped in an elemental’s body. Sort of a Glen Or Rushy Glenda situation. It is important to note at this point that this treatise is not going to concern itself with stat blocks and class features. Those are limiting factors so that the people you play with can feel less insecure in the face of your kickass character concept. When creating a character, it is crucial that you not build it primarily around a rule system; once you start doing that, you lose sight of the character you want to play and start focusing fully on what game mechanics do you want to employ.

Boring. God, game mechanics are soulless and intractable and oftentimes just dumb. Seriously, why is D&D about to go to its 5th edition (called 4th Edition, but there was a Version 3.5 with all new books, so I stand by my assertion) if not because people found previous editions just dumb enough to stop being excited about?

Anyway. All I’m trying to say here is that you should build stats off of your character concept, not the other way around. Sure, let your Gamemaster/Dungeonmaster/Quartermaster have his power trip, let him rein in your creative concept to fit his overarching plot ideas, but don’t make the assumption that he’ll do it before he does. I promise you, if your character concept is cool enough, you’ll be allowed to play it.

DISCLAIMER ONE: If your GM/DM/QM is a jealous dick, all bets are off.

DISCLAIMER TWO: “Overinflated munchkin” is not the same as “Badass character concept,” so don’t be a dick yourself.

With all that said, I reiterate: this treatise will not be covering any of that topic. Now, let’s move on to the real meat of the matter, the average man’s method of character creation:

3) Cover Letter Attached (biking through the neighborhood)