Lost all of last week. My tent was well suited to my working at a slow but steady rate, but now winter is making overtures.
By the weekend I had settled on converting the basement into an art dungeon. And then I injured my knee, rendering large quantities of stair-climbing inadvisable.
My knee is just about good enough now that I can start building my art dungeon tomorrow. However, I also have a lot of busywork to catch up on unrelated to my comic, so my objective for this week is to catch up on responsibilities, and maybe, hopefully get a page or two done. My ultimate objective is to handle all my potential excuses so that I have no excuses remaining next week.
So I’m thinking “What can I do to create the basis of my JRPG engine? Why not start by rebuilding Final Fantasy I, except my way!”
Or even Wizardry. Anyway, the point is not to end up with a Final Fantasy clone, but to create a small game using my RPG mechanics.
For that I need stand in characters. A real game developer (by which I mean a pragmatic game developer) would draw a rectangle, put an arrow on it so you know which way it’s facing, and make it different colors for different classes. I’m going to compromise. I’m not going to spend a lot of time animating, but I will print of several sheets of Piqha templates, and draw different Piqha over them, and since I’m thinking Final Fantasy I for my starting point, I’ll go ahead and take inspiration in these placeholder designs.
Málycanis is an artlang that adopts some interlang sensibilities. Specifically, it is a hypothetical sci-fi descendant from English as spoken by non Anglos (as French, Spanish, and Portuguese are descendants from Latin as spoken by non-Romans.) It may or may not show up in my sci fi stories.
I derive it by taking English and slashing out sounds and concepts that aren’t widely found in other languages unless I fancy them so much I couldn’t bear to part with them.
To be quite clear, if English actually turns into Málycanis, that would be tragic. But, as a toy language, I quite enjoy it.
Syllables of Málycanis take the form [C][L]V[C][s] where…
C = any consonant
L = s, w, l, or y,
V = any vowel or the ai/ay diphthong.
s = s, and as a second consonant in the coda, only follows a nasal (m or n) or unvoiced stop (p, t, c).
Any syllable after the first must start with a consonant.
Romanization, followed by (IPA). Multiple IPA symbols indicate dialectical alternatives that are also considered correct. A given dialect will only use one of these pronunciations per character, with certain exceptions listed below, so it’s not technically kosher to use both, but there should be no ambiguity so it doesn’t really matter.
I know that parenthesis are not the right way to indicate phonology, but I can’t be arsed to look it up just now.
“ts” before a vowel is always pronounced “tʃ” (that is, like the English digraph “ch”).
“ds” before a vowel is always pronounced “dʒ” (that is, like the English letter j).
Yes, I do use ‘c’ instead of ‘k’ for the unvoiced velar stop. Because I like it better.
I also especially like voiced fricatives, despite the fact they are uncommon, and so have them as alternate pronunciations of the voiced stops. I am liable to always pronounce the voiced stops this way, and you can’t stop me.
I tried to cut them down to the three vowels found in e.g. Arabic, but my aesthetic sense forced in an interloper. Good thing this is an artlang and not an interlang.
The diphthongs ‘ai’ or ‘ay’ (both cases pronounced ‘a͞i’) are also allowed.
Due to Málycanis phonology, it should never ambiguous whether ‘y’ is a consonant or a vowel. It would be better to use ‘j’ as the consonant, but I don’t like it, and I’m not gonna.
An acute accent can be placed above a vowel to indicate that syllable is stressed. This is only done in words with two or more syllables, not counting affixes.
Any non dipthong vowel may be doubled, which merely indicates you pronounce it for twice as long.
These vowels are not meant to be super precise, and vary wildly across dialects. Because there are so few, as long as you land closer to one corner than the others, it’s going to be considered correct.
There is, at present, little defined vocab. A good first start would be to steal the lexicon of Toki Pona for the core, and then only add words as needed.
Each Málycanis word should be a more or less direct conversion of an English word, favoring synonyms that avoid homonyms as much as possible, or a compound of two Málycanis words.
Here are some examples, to be amended as an official lexicon is compiled.
Again, not so well defined as phonology. Subject – Verb – Object, obviously, but to be worked out in detail as needed for stories or what have you.
Verbs do conjugate for past and future tense, but it’s just a prefix or postfix.
Maybe not in all ways. Maybe the Zettelkasten concept is a piece of what I need to do rather than the whole. But my lack of apparent progress annoys me, and I think I need to buckle down and finish something.
Scott Adams posits six dimensions of humor. People find something humorous if it is:
Clever (e.g. a pun or wordplay)
Not everyone finds all six dimensions funny. In fact, most people are only amused by one or two of the dimensions, and some people have no sense of humor at all, relying instead on social cues to know when to laugh (which is why laugh tracks on sitcoms are a thing).
A professional joke tries to hit at least two dimensions. To be cute and bizarre, or naughty and clever, or familiar and cruel. The more the better. A superb example:
Clever (a pun), Bizarre, and Naughty. Arguably, it is also Cruel.
A professional humorist tries to hit all six over the course of several jokes, and accepts that most of his jokes won’t hit with most of his audience, but everyone in the audience will remember one or two that cater to his tastes.
Naturally, a comic strip is well advised to bake in as many of these factors as possible.
I’m going to show you how the pros do it, and then you’ll be set to understand the concept of Re-Tail.
God has graciously placed me in a position where I can focus on my art if I choose. It may be better for me to go get a job and help pay the bills, but if I want, I can work on and off as a farmhand, and try to make money as an artist in the mean time, and my family will live in relative poverty, but not badly for all that.
And yet, if I got a job, if I went through Lamda School, things could be so much better for my family. A little bit of that distress of decision making is showing through in my apathy towards 3D, my trying to pick a project, and so forth.
As I wrestle with the decision of what is the best thing I can do for those under me, it is good to remember a man’s vocation is not abstract. I am not a father, a husband, a farmhand, and an artist. I am a father to my specific kid, a husband to my specific wife, a farmhand to my brother, and so on.
I need to decide whether this is an obstacle to be overcome, or a sign I should sculpt for fun, but continue to illustrate books with drawings.
No matter what you do, there will be parts you don’t like, that bore or discomfit you. Overcoming this resistance is key to accomplishing anything. But! Sometimes you are unwilling to do something because you shouldn’t do it.
Telling these two situations apart is hard.
Possibly, I should sculpt characters, render turn-arounds, and use those to create model sheets.
Well, I’m gonna go feed my face, ponder the question, and maybe look at other stuff I should be examining, such as education related stuff.
Yesterday, I went through my old attempts to build a 3D basis for book making and extracted a new proportion set:
Big feet, big hands, big heads gives a cartoon/toy feel. Sculpted forms plays into my prejudices also. I think it will do. I won’t know until I model a couple of characters, and ultimately make a book with them. But I have a good feeling about this set.
The single, most efficient way to test this idea of using lego people to make books is to design a book that only has one character. At most, two. Preferably a constant background. Preferably a blank background.
Basically, The Monster at the end of this Book.
Although, come to think of it, making posters would be a good intermediate step. Just having finished, printable pictures would tell me a lot of what I need to go to keep, cancel, or modify the project. So, my prior contention that I should just use this as a way to do the Original Character challenge is probably the way to go. And that is probably what I’ll do.
But I started this blog post with the intention of listing as many potential projects as occur to me in the off chance that one of them will have an obvious “Monster at the End of this Book” story I can tell. And having that list will be useful. So I’m still going to make it. In alphabeticalish order.
Last time I spent any time on the Awesome Moments project, a few months ago, I came up with some drawings and a concept for proportions based on the drawings.
The idea is to make what I call “lego people”. Not that they have any physical resemblance to legos, but that I have hands and torsos and legs and heads and hairpieces that I can mix and match to create several different cartoony characters.
And the art style is an art style I can be happy with for most of my projects because, using them as a basis for paintings, I can produce higher quality books faster than if I were drawing them.
Mind you, I’m not 100% sure I don’t want to draw them yet. Only 90%. I’m sculpting and sketching away secure in the knowledge that I don’t need to make that decision until the book is ready to harvest from my deck box.
Thing is, this is not the first time I had the idea to do lego people for a project.