Category Archives: Brain droppings

Artwork Suggestions

My personal situation is not exactly getting better, as since I make just enough to not qualify for any kind of subsidies, the cost of insurance, prescriptions and just basic living is eating at my savings.

Thus a lot of the highly disposable income I once had is not so disposable anymore. That means, for all of 2015, I will probably only commission one artwork (either from Armesan or NikitaStewart)

It’s a toss up between three choices:

1) The Wedding of Sara and Liara and the Processional of Blades

2) The Final Moment of Benezia

3) A series of colorless sketches for Dragunov, Branson, Tetrimus, and other characters.

 

Interested in people’s thoughts.

Two new features upcoming

I haven’t gotten around to final review or posting yet, but there will be two new updates to the OSABC line up in the next week or so.

First up is due to a request from AlsoKnownAsMatt, the ANN Media Archive. This will be mostly story-based interviews (as opposed to Westerlund style, text only transcripts) with Emily Wong and various people in the story as it moves along. The first interview will be that of Emily and Shepard when Shep announces her marriage to Doctor T’Soni. The second will most likely be Wong’s interview with Liara in the immediate aftermath of Shepard’s death.

The other new feature will be the STG Files : Benezia Incident, a pack of STG related stuff — profiles on OC’s and modified minor canon characters, STG backstory and investigations into Saren and Benezia, and some ideas of what Benezia and Saren were up to prior to ME1. Like the Cerberus Files, the STG Files is told from an in-universe perspective, but the writers are not all terrorist racist nutjobs, so it’s far more unbiased than a Season of Sorrows Unending.

If you guys and gals who read this have any more ideas, comment and let me know.

On fluff and its necessity

I’m about 65% done with the next ATTWN chapter, and it is almost entirely fluffy. I had a couple of PM’s asking me for more fluff and a couple asking for less, so I thought I would address the issue.

Mass Effect is a game, and as a game it cannot indulge in the things that make up ‘normal life’. A lot is abstracted — going to the restroom, eating, sleeping, etc. That being said, going from A to C and not bothering with a clearly there but boring B is not a sin.

Going from A to X, however, and skipping everything between, certainly is.

A lot of the reason ATTWN even is happening is ‘fluff’. The circumstances behind Shepard’s death, while similar to canon, do not actually follow canon. Namely, the mystery of how the Collectors were able to pick up the Normandy when REAPERS couldn’t, and the sheer stupidity of reviving someone who fell from fucking orbit.

ATTWN has to deal with a lot of fluff to establish both Shepard growing beyond what she was before ME1 (because growth is a criterion of the story, and a CORE CONCEPT that will come up again and again in ME2 and ME3 Premiseverse) as well as preventing massive infodumps.

That being said, I’m attempting to strike a balance between emotional backstory and action. I’m interested in thoughts on this issue.

Still alive…

I have a mad and unthinking desire to try to write awkward Garrus/Miranda romance, possibly along with Tali having to merge the robot-dog with Urz to save his life and turning him into a battle-mount, and a Shepard who both Liara and Ash are in love with, and since he didn’t want to pick between them both got catty and now sleep with each other just to spite him.

There may be something wrong with my brain.

Weekly Crappy Art: Pinnacle Training Command

Whenever I am stuck on a boring conference call, I will start uploading a crappy sketch of some scenes in OSABC or ATTWN.  They’ll be done on a steno pad, so lines are an issue, but hey.

Keep in mind the key word is CRAPPY. I cannot be held responsible if you end up spitting coke over your keyboard or hurting yourself laughing at these images.

Here is the first one:

by LogicalPremise (lol, like anyone would steal credit)
by LogicalPremise (lol, like anyone would steal credit)

On the nature of horror in the Premiseverse

“I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded,
Without knowledge, or lustre, or name.” – H.P. Lovecraft

The canon ME-verse is a place of bright futures and hope, a place where evil is viewed with disgust and rejection, where the darkness beyond the stars boils down to incompetently coded AI’s and oversized fish with ego problems.  The only true horror is that of the sorrowful disgust we experience at seeing the Reaper mockeries of existing races, a horror put paid to easily enough by fire and sword.

Evil sits in nicely defined packages, and Garrus’ complaints about shades of gray are manifest only to the clean-arrow view of the universe a turian would hold. Likewise, the terror invoked by Nazara and the visceral horror of the fate and plans of the Collectors is derailed by their cartoonishly-bad execution, ending with the fate of the galaxy being decided by if you can beat a space ninja or not.

I am afraid, gentle readers, that the Premiseverse is altogether a much nastier place. I had a PM asking me why I made my AU so dark, and why change it from the way it was.

My answer is simple: because in horror there is a chance to explore meaning. Drama for the sake of drama and action for the sake of action is what canon ME explores. And despite the plot holes, it does so very well. That does not mean that every interpretation must merely reshuffle events with that narrow framework.

There are three basis points for horror in the Premiseverse:

  1. the reality that sentient life, and all it’s goals, dreams and hopes, is little more than fuel for things fighting on another level of existence, one so vast and terrifying that even with all the answers the questions are still incomprehensible. Nine million years of fighting between the Ascended and the Darkness, in a war where entire galaxies were weapons and whole races were evolved, born, lived, and died as battle thralls for both sides? Millions upon millions of years of harvests by the Reapers?  The ugly knowledge that the very technology used by the races is slowly converting our reality to dark energy and matter, and one day it will pop like a soap bubble? These things make the concerns of any group seem small and pointless.
  2. the knowledge that all of the races are willing to embrace evil, disgusting acts in the pursuit of power, or safety, or knowledge, or dominance. Unlike in ME, where it seems like humans (and a lesser degree, salarians)  are the only people doing really horrible things, in the Premiseverse everyone is in on it with the exception of the quarians and elcor. Rather than turn from such in disgust, the powers of the galaxy blackmail each other in a dance of shadow operations, each one framed in the struggle of other wetwork groups — the Shadow Broker, P., Cerberus, the STG, and the Nightwind — doing their own horrible things. There very simply are no good guys, and instead much of what the average person thinks about their government is flat out wrong.
  3. the critical concept that science and advancement also bring dangers and corruption along with knowledge and enlightenment. We only get to really see this in canon ME with Cerberus experimentation always going horribly wrong, but that misses the larger point — that the singularity and increasingly advanced technologies only further increase the damage and danger of what a race can do. Mad science should have ugly fallout, and reckless crash programs to try to even up the technological edge between the races of the Galaxy and the Reapers should blow up badly, and for multiple races.

Too many choices in ME can be factored down to doing things the Paragon or Renegade way. It is, I suppose, meant to provide the illusion of choice, but instead all it does is cheapen the meaning of such choices. The reality of life is that we are often forced not to pick between good and evil, but from a selection of various evils. The triumph is in getting the job done without corrupting the soul of your species at the end of it all.

There are those who claim making everything dark is ‘unrealistic’, yet I do not think these people have any idea of what reality is like. I assure you, neither my country nor yours in real life is a “good guy”. Every government on earth has done things that would make you ashamed. To suggest that for some reason humans are the only people to descend to this level is more Star-Trekesque bullshit, which I reject utterly.

A second (perhaps more valid) objection to the darkening of the ME verse is that so much decency remains. That is because the darkening is due to those in power, not any sort of magical change in people or aliens themselves.

The big alteration in the Premiseverse is that the old levers of power (asari Thirty, salarian Six Families, Turian Palavanus, Human nobility, etc) did NOT lose power and fade to insignificance as they did in canon ME — instead they retained their power, and plan to keep it.

What happens in the fullness of ME2 and ME3 hasn’t been planned yet, but by ME4 in the Premiseverse, much of this old guard had been removed, allowing peace and calmness to settle on the races.

The style of horror I prefer is the slow reveal and the philosophical horror, rather than slasher style or shock style. I am still in the process of developing this style, as seen in Fear Unrelenting.

 

Fixing ME2 : Part I

One thing that pisses me off about ME2 is how badly the ball was dropped on so many characters.

With the exception of Tali (walking infodump), I can’t really complain too much about the ME1 cast — they were distinctive, original, and strong. And there were certainly characters that fit that description in ME 2 as well — Mordin, Miranda, Zaeed — certainly the Illusive Man.

But there were other characters —  important characters — that were either neglected or, more commonly, were simply clever writing tacked onto boring, repetitive shit we’ve seen elsewhere.

Urdnot Grunt is not given enough introspective, nor enough of a chance to demonstrate what it means to be krogan outside of mindless violence. Worse, the message is sent that such violence is NOT actually part of the krogan mindset — the calm and quiet krogan on Korlus proves that. Instead of using Grunt’s childish antics to show a softer side of the krogan, we get silliness like a one-ton alien playing with action figures.

Worst of all, Grunt’s biggest failings are highlighted by the glimpses of something else only hinted at,like him reading Hemmingway. Ugh.

Morinth is a criminally badly written thing. Let’s add up the stupid cliches : stupidly hedonistic even after hundreds of years, check. Lack of maturity after hundreds of years, check. Kills a young single white female to establish her as the evulz, check. Vampy, gothy, and playing the victim card, check. Stupidly cliched ‘irresistibly attractive’ statement without any display of such? Double Check.

Who in their right goddamned mind would fuck that, even if you didn’t know she’d eat your brains? Goddamn it, Bioware, at least fucking try.

Jacob Taylor pisses me off even more because I am a black man, and this is the single most insulting stereotype I’ve ever seen. Jacob has a father who abandoned him, just like all Black Males. He was basically a criminal in his Alliance Service, just like all Black Males. He uses stupid ‘cool’ slang that was dated in the fucking 90’s, like ‘spill some drinks’, just like all Black Males.

Bangs you and leaves you for some other chick he knocks up? Check. Volunteers for an assignment he can’t handle in the SM so the black guy dies first? Check. Rejects any attempt by FemShep to actually get him to open up, dismissing it as ‘grade school psyche and a crying jag’? Check.

Supposedly emotionally stable, but comes off as emotionally stunted. And, of course, facial bumps from shaving. Nice. Fucking assholes.

Thane is wasted, more because they crafted him to be ‘attractive to female players’ and to have a goddamned sob story. Repentant assassin with a spiritual side? Check. Soft-spoken and eloquent? Check. Humanoid yet exotically handsome?

Get the fuck out of here. What he tells us about drell culture and his own experiences is so contradictory and self-fellating in it’s calm acceptance of morality being something external to the soul that it’s vomitous. If you have nothing to feel bad about, Thane, why in fuck are you coming along on a suicide mission to redeem yourself!?

Fucking Bioware.

Jack is a strong character, but a stupid concept all the way around for two very simple reasons. First, if you are trying to create a superbiotic to serve you, that is NOT how you gain loyalty or even initiate Stockholm Syndrome. Cerberus (once again) comes off looking like incompetent idjits who wouldn’t be able to run a taco stand without killing the entire planet it was on, just so she could have reasons to hate them and be tragic and have runny mascara when she cries.  There is ZERO (ha, get the pun) logic in her setup and presentation. Every bit of it — naked to the waist, the stupid cutscene only biotic power that blows up fucking ZEUS mechs, even her foul-mouthed defiance of Miranda — all of it is to push an image and background that makes no sense.

Secondly, her concept doesn’t work because that is NOT how abuse victims reclaim their body. People who are victimized and abused do not go out and victimize and abuse other people they don’t know, period, fucking ever. They often abuse those close to them, those they say they love, or those much like them — because that’s how they know to interact. They do not become wild pirates playing queen bitch of the hill — their self-esteem was destroyed, how would they find the strength to do such a thing?

Finally, Kasumi pisses me off because they just took two cliches (dashing master thief + ninja) and slapped them together without any more development than “oh her boyfriend died”.

I know she was an add on character, but WHAT THE FUCK. SERIOUSLY. Zaeed had tons of badass background, a completely plausible psychology, a consistent set of moral reactions to the world around him, and a perfectly good reason for being an ice-cold asshole. Kasumi acts like someone stole her out of a fucking anime.

 

These six characters I intend to change almost entirely. Their backgrounds, motivations, roles, and even classes will change. When I get done with them, they will share very little in common with their canon counterparts.