Author Archive

Comics and YOU – “Pacing and Speech Bubbles”

Phew, this was fun. Definitely one of the most text heavy comics I’ve done, weighing in at around 900 words. Continue reading

Lou Collins: Man of War

Oh wow, garrysmod comics?

Yes.

I have here a set of comics that have been a work in progress for me. They represent more or less all the comic making energy I’ve put forth since January. The story follows the not-so-canon adventures of Louis T. Collins in the Half-Life/ Half-Life 2 universe, set almost completely in the roughly 20 year gap in the story between the two games. Because I have a planned between 9 and 15 small comic length stories in the entire saga, I decided to release them as I make them. Until now, I felt they were a little too bare-bones to be released as a comic, but with my 4th “Issue” I figure it’s time to call it my main story, at least until I revisit Continent 4 or Star Trek: Intrepid, my two other flagship series.

And that’s it for the comic for now. I’ll post more updates as they come.

As a sort of exclusive, I decided to give a small biography to Lou Collins, one that will be eventually fleshed out in comic form, but I feel help in understanding the motivations for his actions.

Louis Collins is, at his core, an arms dealer. Born in 1976, the climate of the 21st century world he came to power in is slightly different then our own, a post “Black Mesa Incident” environment where headcrabs and bullsquid roam the now abandoned suburbs. Although he has done some things you’d expect from arms dealer, like fueling African wars and supplying both sides, he’s most known for making military grade weapons available to the average American citizen, after the advent of portal storms. Although controversial, his practices made him both rich and famous. In Q1 2010, he was listed as a defense contractor or weapons supplier to at least 40% of all nations globally, his conglomerate was worth 170 billion USD, and was personally listed as #97 on the Forbes 400, making the cover of the 2003 edition.

After the war, he was put back into essentially the same position by the combine. Most of these comics deal with that, mostly by revisiting contacts and locations from before the war. The comic, more than anything, is about change and consequences. I hope the finished product will reflect that.

Bodygroups and YOU

Here’s a fun little comic I did partially as a public service announcement for the bodygroup tool. If you don’t know what the bodygroup tool is or how it works, you’ll soon learn!

Bodygroup changer stool can be found at: http://www.filefront.com/13956899/bodygroup_changer.rar/

Enhanced citizens with bodygroups can be downloaded here:

Toybox – The Cloud Visits Garrysmod

Recently, garrysmod was updated to include an ingame downloadable content distribution system called Toybox . It currently includes map, entity, weapon, and prop categories, and is very streamlined and easy to use. It’s downright the easiest way to modify any game ever without a doubt. However, as a content creator, I have some concerns with how its set up and its future.

The system is exceedingly simple for the end users of the system. Click a button, wait a few seconds while the files pop out the bottom of the screen, and bam, there it is, a shiny new thing to play with, or a new map to play on. For those wishing to use the system to upload, however, it’s not quite as simple. I can’t speak for LUA coders, but I’ve uploaded a few props to the cloud. The process has a bit of a learning curve, and it isn’t designed to upload more then a few files at a time. The real limiting factor, though, is that I’m limited to assuming that the potential end user won’t know the first thing about how to use whatever it is I’m uploading. This cuts out one of the biggest advancements of recent custom content creation: bodygroups. For those of you who don’t know what bodygroups are, they’re a way of cramming more “models” into a single model.

 

bodygroups example

Example on bodygroups used on single model im recent release

 

Half-Life2 uses this feature occasionally, and if you’ve used hammer for a certain amount of time, chances are you know what skingroups are. Given the right stool or !ent_fire commands, you can select pre-existing sub options present in a model. These can range from alternate skins to hats to attachments on a weapon. Because toybox limits the options of prop downloading to only one model at a time, this would set up plenty of great options to get more “bang for your buck” using bodygroups and expanding user’s options.

Well, in the ideal world, that be perfect. But as it stands, most people that use garrysmod and toybox complain when they spawn a ragdoll and not a fully formed NPC that can join your squad (not that there’s a tool for that too). When it comes down to it, the prop section of toybox is fractionally as large as its entity and weapon counterparts not because it’s hard to upload and impliement, but because the majority end users are so stupid.

 

example text

this is why we can't have nice things.

 

Fixing the problem:

Well the issue here isn’t really with toybox,  it’s education and availability of the tools to get the most out of it. Every time I or one of my peers has released something utilizing bodygroups, most of the comments are complaints that they have not idea how to make it work. A good update to garrymod would be a default bodygroup changer and model manipulator. A good update to toybox is to allow “content packs” and bring it up to speed with garrysmod.org, not that the users there are any better.

All in all, Toybox is a great leap forward for custom content downloading; it really brings the ability to download to everyone. If that’s a good thing or not is still to be determined.

Give it a try the next time you boot up gmod, and post your thoughts!