Boardroom suggestion

Boardroom suggestion

It’s often said that reality isn’t black-and-white, but that there are various shades of gray. But in this conflict, there rather seem to be shades of black.


The Complete Gaia – Status update, No. 1

This weekend, I spent a lot of time working on The Complete Gaia. Apart from technical work on the page layout and fixing artwork errors in over a dozen pages, I also wrote parts of the supplementary material. The anthology will contain at least the following text sections:

  1. Introduction to Gaia, its history and development
  2. The setting of Gaia (similar to the website page)
  3. Additional info bits about the setting of Gaia for people who can’t get enough of world-building
  4. Description of our process to create a new page (similar to the equivalent section in the S&W anthology)
  5. Overview of major plot points that have been dropped during the writing process
  6. Comments about my favorite pages (similar to the website series)
  7. Listing of hidden secrets and interesting tidbits found in dozens of pages
  8. From script to finished page, illustrated by multiple examples
  9. Glossary (similar to the website page)

Review of Final Fantasy VII Remake

If you’re still undecided about getting Final Fantasy VII Remake, here’s my own review of it.

Characters

  • ✔✔ The strongest aspect of the game! They nailed the personality of all the characters! Cloud, Tifa, Aeris, Barret & Co. behaved just like in the original game. Moreover, the increased playing time gave more room for personal moments that made you like the characters even more.
  • That was also true for the minor characters, some of which have gotten much more screen time. Biggs, Wedge and Jessie from Avalanche only had a few lines in the original, but now were a huge part of the story. So you began to truly care about them.
  • And let’s not forget Don Corneo and Hojo. Square couldn’t have done a better job regarding these sleazy criminals.
  • Most of the new characters also were very charming and unique, especially in the Wall Market section.

★★★★★★ (6 out of 5 because the game features the best bunch of characters of all time in any kind of media)

Story

  • Final Fantasy VII was always about the characters, not the strange and convoluted story. But the story still served as a strong vehicle for the characters as the most iconic scenes from the original game were left intact.
  • The more realistic graphics increased the impact of the most emotional scenes on the player even more.
  • Square somehow managed to make the Wall Market section even more awesome than in the original game.
  • Square somehow managed to butcher the iconic scene at the end of the Shinra headquarters infiltration.
  • The controversial ending could lead to something great if done right in the sequel(s). But it’s more likely that it’s one of Nomura’s overcomplicated and ultimately meaningless timeline shenanigans.
  • The dementors diluted some of the most iconic scenes from the original game with their presence.
  • There was a definite power creep regarding the main characters at the end that I’m not sure how Square will solve in the sequel(s).
  • Some parts of the game felt drawn out, especially the dungeons.

★★★☆☆

Combat

  • ✔✔ The combat system felt like a careful modernization of the original system without the tedious waiting times.
  • So many colorful explosions and light effects! Megumin would love this game!
  • Different enemies required different strategies.
  • The arena battles were a nice touch. Especially the final boss of the big tournament was an amazing idea that was executed perfectly.
  • Boss battles felt drawn out. The bosses should have taken less damage, but dealt more damage.
  • The camera was sometimes not showing what you wanted to see.
  • The fighting speed was just too high for my taste. You often couldn’t make out what was happening on the screen.

★★★★☆

Gameplay

  • The minigames were challenging and fun.
  • There were lots of things to discover, but the levels didn’t feel maze-like.
  • The controls felt fluid and natural. It was a lot of fun to just run around and admire the levels.
  • There was a severe lack of dialog options for Cloud. Only a handful of dialogs gave any dialog option at all.
  • I would have liked some more interactive elements that involved more than just pressing the triangle button.

★★★★☆

Graphics

  • ✔✔ The game looked fantastic most of the time with an incredible amount of detail, wonderful lighting and an obscene amount of special effects. Some of the locations, such as the slums around Aeris’ church, Wall Market and Shinra’s headquarters simply looked breathtaking!
  • ✔✔ The main characters and the most important minor characters had lovingly designed character models. Tifa and Aeris in particular looked like goddesses.
  • Some locations didn’t have the same amount of detail and there were some textures with lower quality. Other users also experienced problems with textures that didn’t load properly.
  • Almost all NPCs looked very ordinary, making the main characters stand out like tanks in a meadow.

★★★★★

Sound

  • A good to great musical score that almost everyone will enjoy. Some of the classic themes sounded better (battle theme), some worse (Aeris’ theme).
  • A good to great voice-over that fitted the characters.
  • ✘✘ Maybe the worst aspect of the game was the truly terrible sound mixing! The volume of talking characters depended way too much on their distance to the camera, making them talk too quiet or loud all the time. This was especially true for the random comments by NPCs as you pass them. They talked way too much and repeated the same lines again and again, resulting in a cacophony of voices as you ran through the crowded areas of the slums.
  • Sound effects and music also had volume issues that couldn’t be solved with the volume sliders.

★★★☆☆

Overall

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake is a great game as long as you can get over what it once was (a game changer like The Matrix), and look at what it is.

★★★★★★★★★☆


The Complete Gaia – Production Diary

I have started a production diary where I will occasionally post updates about the comic anthology The Complete Gaia. It will contain the whole comic, the best artwork and other goodies. It will likely be published as part of a Kickstarter campaign once the end of the comic is in sight.

Here is an early look at its features:

  • 2 hardcover volumes in full color
  • Around 900 comic pages
  • Around 40 pages with artwork from commissions and our artwork contests
  • Around 10 pages with author commentary and other things
  • Signed by me
  • Special edition with various goodies

Color printing of two such thick books is only feasible with offset printing. Since offset printing has a very high initial cost and a low price per piece, it will be crucial to reach a high enough print run. 500 copies is the minimum, but 1000 would be much better!

I hope you’re as excited about the project as I am, and will begin to save some money for it! 😉


Character occurrence frequency 2011 to 2019

Here is a diagram that shows how often the main and supporting characters of Gaia appeared in each year. Note that there were only 28 pages in 2011.

You can click on the images for larger versions.

Main characters occurrence frequency 2011 to 2019

Supporting characters occurrence frequency 2011 to 2019

Number of new pages per year:

  • 2011: 28 (incl. 1 cover)
  • 2012: 96 (incl. 1 cover)
  • 2013: 86 (incl. 2 covers)
  • 2014: 99 (incl. 1 cover)
  • 2015: 101
  • 2016: 102 (incl. 1 cover)
  • 2017: 104 (incl. 1 cover)
  • 2018: 98
  • 2019: 92 (incl. 2 covers)
  • Total: 807 (incl. 9 covers)

Here is the total number of occurrences:

  1. Viviana: 421 (52% of all pages)
  2. Ilias: 347 (43%)
  3. Lilith: 244 (30%)
  4. Ryn: 183 (23%)
  5. Alissa: 173 (21%)
  6. Eldor: 115 (14%)
  7. Sandril: 103 (13%)
  8. San: 82 (10%)
  9. Savos: 49 (6%)
  10. Ryker: 37 (5%)
  11. Faye: 36 (4%)
  12. Salacea: 35 (4%)
  13. Teglen: 33 (4%)
  14. Korahan: 28 (3%)
  15. Milo: 26 (3%)
  16. Malva: 20 (2%)