Holy crap, it’s May! My quest log has been full of PAX East, Virtual Reality, Hearthstone, Snapchat, and the usual: making comics.
Comic Quest Log: Using My Surface Pro 4 EVEN MORE!
You may already be aware that ever since I started NPC Comic, I’ve been drawing it on my 2008 Cintiq 21 UX. But last fall I got a Microsoft Surface Pro 4, so I could draw my comic on the go or from my couch. I still consider my big Cintiq my main drawing tool, but lately I’ve been using my Surface more and more. For 2 reasons:
1) I’ve had a busy month with some travel and a lot of catching up that I’d rather do from my couch.
2) I switched from an all-touchscreen workflow to using the keyboard. It was really important to me when I got my Surface that I go keyboard free. And I did, successfully. In the Twitter picture below you can see that I’m not using a keyboard there. I have a utility on the left side of the screen that has customizable touch buttons in place of my favorite keyboard shortcuts. It’s been great, especially when space is cramped, like on a train or plane. After months of using my Surface without a keyboard 90% of the time, I tried popping the keyboard out and drawing just to see how it felt. I had to admit that it helped me work faster. So that discovery has led me to lean on my Surface even more lately.
— Mary Varn (@maryvarn) April 21, 2016
I’m ahead on writing and sketching! But not inking and coloring.
Written: 17 comics
Sketched: 8 comics
Inked: 2 comics
Colored: 0 comics
Blogging in the Comic Posts
I’ve been writing more in the posts that go with each comic lately, and you’ve been writing back. I’ve really been enjoying your comments. I love hearing about other people’s game experiences. Thank you for sharing so much.
Mary Quest Log
I’ve gotten closer to undertaking my quest to build a computer. I was waiting for Nvidia to announce they’re anticipated 2016 graphics cards, and they just did! The cards are out May 27th, and I plan on ordering parts in the next month. I’ll report back on my progress.
PAX East 2016
John and I try to go to PAX East every year. It’s not quite as eventful as GenCon, but it’s still a good time and easier for us to travel to. My favorite game I played there was Death Squared. It’s a co-op game where you play cubes trying to solve room puzzles while trying to not accidentally kill each other.
My friend and coworker Jules has the HTC Vive, Valve’s virtual reality headset. I came over to his apartment with my dad and John in tow to try it out. Have you tried a VR headset yet? It’s something you have to try to really understand what it’s like. I had used the cardboard headsets that go with smartphones, but this was my first time trying the Real Deal. It’s pretty amazing. I felt like I was somewhere else. And I lost all orientation of where I actually was. When I took the headset off, I felt like I had been transported to a different world and back. We tried a lot of the little VR games on Steam, some of which are surprisingly robust. One of the favorites was Audio Shield, in which you punch colored bubbles with the corresponding hand. It sounds ridiculous, but was another one of those things you just have to try to get how cool it is.
- I will probably want a VR headset. I’m not sure I’ll go first generation. But soon.
- I didn’t get motion sick even though I do with I use the cardboard headsets with smartphones.
- The power to be transported is real. I tried an app that took me to a mountain somewhere. I didn’t feel vertigo, but I could NOT bring myself to take a step over a cliff. I knew rationally that all that lay before my feet was my friend’s sturdy hardwood floor, but there was NO WAY I could make my foot go forward. NOPE.
- The power to be scared is real. I also went to a dark cavern underwater, where I saw a creepy glowing fish eat another fish. Nothing jumped out at me, but in the dark I was instantly on edge and knew that if anything surprised me I’d curl up in a ball.
- I really like that the Vive is a moving-around experience. There was an arcade game inside Valve’s VR “Lab” called Xortex in which your hand is a spaceship and you fly around a room shooting bad spaceships. I loved twisting and turning and flying my hand around.
- The HDMI cord is a little annoying. I felt limited at times because I was worried I’d be tangled in it. But we’re far from being able to have these things wireless, so for now it’s a necessity.
I got on the Snapchat bandwagon. I never thought I would, but I tried it while I was at PAX East and found it very addictive. I’ve been doing doodle breaks at work, behind the scenes of making my comic, and of course, silly face tracking. It’s a really cool tool for visual story telling. I’m looking forward to experimenting more on it. I think it’s catching on right now because marketers heard that young people are all over it, but it’s sticking because it’s a joy to use. Add me if you’re interested! Username is maryvarn.