Monthly Archives: January 2012

META: Forum testing

At some point, the UGO Forums will (I assume) come down. It would be nice to have some sort of replacement solution in place before then, so I've installed a WordPress forum for the site that I'd like to test out.

If you're so inclined, give them a test run here, noting of course that this is all just a test and so nothing in there is going to be permanent (probably).

Let me know your thoughts as to ease of use, functionality, and just what you think of them overall. If they'll work, great, and if not I will try something else. The advantage to this particular forum from my perspective is that it was really easy to install and works within WordPress itself, but that doesn't mean anything if it doesn't do what you need it to do.

Thanks in advance for anyone who wants to offer their feedback!

Green Goblin vs The Joker

Our weekly Versus matchup brings us a colossal contest between a couple of confounding clowns of crime:

Both are, obviously, insanely evil. They care nothing for the death of innocent bystanders and they both have impressive armories of weapons. I would probably give the edge in planning to the Joker, but the Green Goblin seems deadlier in direct combat. On the other hand, The Joker's usually able to hold his own against arguably the world's greatest fighter, Batman, so you can't count him out.

Ultimately, I'd probably go with the Joker, since he's taken down his universe's greatest two heroes in Batman and Superman, while the Green Goblin usually only has to deal with Spider-Man. No slight to our webbed friend, of course, but he's not at a Kryptonian power level.

But that's just me, who would you choose?

Worst. Waitress. Ever.

"Greed" by Kytana

Caption Contest 116

Your challenge this week is to come up with the best replacement dialog for this comics panel:

The best entry (as judged by yours truly) wins the author's choice of either any item they like or any portrait to be included in HeroMachine 3′s final release, or a custom black and white “Sketch of the Day” style illustration (you pick the subject, I draw it however I like).

All entries must be left as a comment (or comments) to this post. Keep ‘em clean (appropriate for a late-night broadcast TV show), but most importantly, keep ‘em funny!

This week we have a cap of no more than five (5) entries per person, so make 'em your best!

Character Contest 81 Winners!

Many thanks to everyone who entered Character Design Contest 81: Greed! Without further ado, I give you your Finalists:

I thought Albannach's "Futility of Greed" told its story very well.

AMS' "Midas" is a great character study.

I liked the way Blue Blazer created a non-standard sort of man in this one, along with the effective storytelling.

Diazmydiaz's "Burn the World" also features a distinctive looking character, though I think the burning of the world is going to be a "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" sort of moment for him.

FRM's "Tax Collector" is included mostly for the nice butt -- I'm not sure how that was done but it looks like it was drawn that way.

Gendonesia's "Grave Hunter" features a great composition and highly effective lighting to set the mood. All the little touches (like the spattering on the ground) work really well here.

I liked headlessgeneral's character design as well as the great use of the "Greed" design element in the background.

Kytana's dragon in "Greed" is just stunning. The hoard of gold is spot-on and the design of the creature itself is perfect.

Mashlagoo does a stellar job with this classic D&D monster, the Mimic.

What clenched Razor99's entry for me is spinning disk in the eyes and the similar leering grins on both figures. I think it sells "Greed" very well.

I think it's hard to use HeroMachine to put together a good political cartoon, but Skybandit manages it quite well here.

Watson Bradshaw also brought a nice political cartoon with his "one percent". I like the use of the cranes in the top background particularly.

WolfMoon's "Hail Money" is a great poster, with outstanding composition. I love this image.

A few others I thought had great illustrations (i.e. Tarkabarka) but I didn't get "Greed" from looking at them.

Out of the list of Finalists, there can be only one overall winner, though many were certainly worthy. I ultimately decided to go with ... Kytana's dragon! Every time I look at it I see some new little feature that adds to the overall effect without being intrusive. I definitely can see "greed" when I look at it, and taken just as an illustration it's great.

Awesome job, and congratulations both to our winner Kytana and all of our Finalists! I believe dblade is again doing his very generous "Finalist Supplemental Prize" (or some other, cooler name), so definitely check the comments for that update.

She never forgave them for the "Got your nose" trick

Freestyle, Round 2!

After a missed couple of weeks, it's time to continue our Freestyle Adventure Series. We had some really good story seeds turned in, but unfortunately my idea of a comment voting system didn't work out -- the plugin was definitely sub-optimal. In lieu of that and so we don't have to wait another week, I just picked our winning seed and image. Unfortunately, a high percentage of them failed to follow instructions and either weren't written in second person, weren't gender-neutral, or didn't have a good jumping-off point.

Our winning story segment comes from the puissant pen of ... Skybandit!

The cobwebs were thick upon the intricately carved altar, throwing odd shadows from the guttering candle in your hand. Your uncle had never installed electricity in the basement of the ancient mansion that he had left you in his will. Opening the crumbling book to the page he had marked before his horribly bloody death, you fulfilled the only proviso to gain the full inheritance by reading out the words on the crumbling parchment, stumbling over the strange words.

Perhaps you should have been more careful with your pronunciation, for in a flash and with a rumble like a Californian quake, there appeared …

Thus your challenge this week is one of two things (or both, if you fancy a challenge):

  1. Write the next short section of our ongoing adventure using the seed in blockquotes above and what is depicted in the winning image, below. The text should be written in second-person point of view ("You are a young warrior of the Wu Tang Clan") and should be gender-neutral. The section should end with an open-ended statement making it easy for the next person to hook on their section, something like "You turn the corner and see ..." or "Leaping from the cliff, your wild hands scrabble along the rocks and encounter ..." or "Heat vision blasting, out of the corner of your eye you see descending from the clouds a ...", that kind of thing. The goal is to make it easy for the next person to know where to jump off.
  2. If writing isn't your thing, you can post a link to an image you've created in HeroMachine that the next person will have to incorporate into their scene. It might be a human character of some sort, or an animal, or an item, or a scene, or whatever you like.

If you choose to write the next segment, here's the image you must somehow incorporate into the story, courtesy of Keith_Kanin:

(Click to embiggen.)

I've installed the GD Star comment rating system, which I hope will be more stable than the last plugin I tried. Registered users can vote for entries they like with a thumbs-up; the image and story with the most thumbs-up votes wins!

If this turns out not to work, I'll just pick the best story and image like a regular contest.

Good luck!

Satan is a cross-dresser?

(From the pages of "PEP", 1941.)

The Secret of 'Nyms

This week's Sharing Day topic is simple:

Why is the story behind your online pseudonym (either here or one that you use the most often elsewhere)?

I bet you can guess where mine -- "HeroMachine" -- comes from, can't you! I've also gone by "Grunch" before, which is a name I made up for a character in my aborted fantasy novel.

If you like, in return for answering my question to you, you may ask a question of me on any topic and I'll do my best to answer honestly and completely. I'm travelling back to Durango today, so my access and responsiveness depends on how the WiFi is at various airports, so if it's tomorrow before I get back to you, my apologies.

I look forward to hearing your stories!