Inktober Has Run Dry –OR– A New Effort to Stay Not Insane

Too many projects!

I had a pretty good idea for this year’s Inktober. I decided to make a flipbook of scenes from various sidescrolling video games, in which the protagonist would traverse the page from left to right as the pages are flipped. One page a day for 31 days. I think it’s a cool idea, and I was excited by the prospect of once again bringing my passions for drawing and video games together as part of a fun project.

I got started. I cranked out the first four pages. The first one went well! It only took me about an hour and a half to do the whole thing. Then the next one took quite a bit longer. The next one? Even longer. The fourth page took an entire evening to get done. Despite my best efforts to try to limit my time and the amount of detail on each drawing, I found myself spending more and more time on each one, and the level of detail got more and more complex, as well. You know, the exact opposite of what I had intended!

Not only was the project really starting to drag, it turns out I wasn’t enjoying it, either. At another time, it may have been really engaging work, but I found myself falling prey to the same mistake I make again and again: overcommitting to too many big projects at once. I overwhelm myself with work and commitments until I have no flexible hours in my day and end up making myself miserable.

Go on….

Ultima Online is 20 Years Old, and Heeeeerrrre Come the Memories!

Ultima Online Art

I received Ultima Online unexpectedly as a Christmas present in 1998. My brother recommended it to my parents as something that he thought I would like.

He didn’t know what he was getting me into.

Ultima Online was one of the first massively multiplayer online role-playing games, taking the lore and settings of Richard Garriott’s Ultima series and adapting it to massive online play. At the time, I was a regular online player of Diablo, Quake, and Starcraft. Competitively speaking, I wasn’t very good at any of them, and our not-great-even-for-a-rural-area internet connection further handicapped my play. Nevertheless, online gaming was a new and exciting experience, and I was having a blast playing over the internet with friends and strangers alike, even the ones whose usernames were just mashups of profanities and pot references. Well, except when I would get killed by cheaters in Diablo. That wasn’t fun, but there was only so much you could do about that. It was the frontier days of online gaming, with no checks in place to fight the outlaws, and minimal punishment for those who did not play by the rules.

Ultima Online was a deep dive into an even more robust, immersive online gaming experience: a persistent online world with its own evolving culture and economy. It was exciting, if not a little intimidating, to step into a game world that never stopped, even when you logged out. Adventures were had, business transactions made, towns were overrun by skeletons, and so on, all while your character slept peacefully in the inn as you lived your real life, logged out of the game. Instead of being the core figure in a grand, world-sweeping adventure, I was but one of thousands of players, all inhabiting the same world at the same time, all with their own goals, schedules, skillsets, and more. It was a completely different dynamic from any other RPG I had played.

Go on….