Today’s “Damania” Comics (30th June 2013)

Well, I made four “Damania” comics today, which are all part of the “festivals” story arc I’m working on at the moment and I’m really proud of how they all turned out.

As always, these four comics are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Licence.

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"Damania - Literary Festival" By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Literary Festival” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Literary Festival” was just seriously funny to write and draw, especially the last panel. Although I kind of feel sorry for Harvey though…

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"Damania - Festival Bar Tent" By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Festival Bar Tent” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Festival Bar Tent” is about the fact that drinks are often extortionately priced quite expensive at festivals. I’m obviously exaggerting in this comic… but it’ll probably be shockingly accurate in a decade or so LOL!!!

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"Damania - Front Row"By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Front Row”By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Front Row” basically started out as an excuse to draw a punk/goth band and it turned out surprisingly well.

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"Damania - Festival Schadenfreude" By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Festival Schadenfreude” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Festival Schadenfreude” is a cautionary tale about how interesting festivals gradually become mainstream. Or at least my personal theory as to how they become mainstream…

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Classic “Damania” Comics – Part 4

Well, for the final instalment of my series of classic “Damania” comics, I thought I’d post some of my more recent “Damania” comics from earlier this year which haven’t appeared on this blog yet as well as a few more classic comics from last year. Enjoy 🙂

These “Classic Damania” posts will be automatically published. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make some new comics today too – but I I thought I’d make another post in my ‘classic Damania’ series just in case.

As always, these six classic comics are released under a Creative Commons BY- NC-ND licence.

"Damania - Dark Electric" By C.A.Brown [2nd April 2013]

“Damania – Dark Electric” By C.A.Brown [2nd April 2013]

"Damania - Audiobook" By C. A. Brown [4th April 2013]

“Damania – Audiobook” By C. A. Brown [4th April 2013]

"Damania - Katana" By C. A. Brown [4th April 2013]

“Damania – Katana” By C. A. Brown [4th April 2013]

"Damania - Haunted" By C. A. Brown [16th October 2012]

“Damania – Haunted” By C. A. Brown [16th October 2012]

"Damania - Guitar" By C.A.Brown [October 14th 2012]

“Damania – Guitar” By C.A.Brown [October 14th 2012]

"Damania - Freeview" By C.A.Brown [20th October 2012]

“Damania – Freeview” By C.A.Brown [20th October 2012]

Review: “Brutal Doom” ( Mod for “Doom”/”Doom II”/”Final Doom”)

As a massive fan of ID Games’ classic 1990s sci-fi/horror FPS game “Doom” and it’s sequels, I was amazed when I accidentally stumbled upon a Youtube video of “Brutal Doom” earlier and I just had to find a copy of it. Needless to say, it doesn’t disappoint.

(I’ve only played “Brutal Doom” for a couple of hours on “The Plutonia Experiment” episode of “Final Doom” so far. So this review only reflects my initial impressions of the mod.)

(I’ll also include instructions for installing “Brutal Doom” at the end of this review, as well as a link to a free fan-made IWAD file for people who – for some strange reason – don’t own a copy of any of the old “Doom” games [although it’s definately worth buying one].)

“Brutal Doom” is a mod for the “GZ Doom” source port for “Doom”, which makes “Doom” act a lot more like a late 1990s FPS game (eg: you can actually look around with the mouse and a few things like that – although you still can’t jump 😦 Edit: You can jump and crouch and look around with the mouse, although you have to activate these features on the “gameplay options” menu ).

Anyway, the first thing you will notice about “Brutal Doom” is that it’s a lot more gruesome than ‘ordinary’ “Doom”.

I’m not exaggerating here – it’s cartoonishly, gratuitously, ludicrously gruesome. If you’re shocked and offended by (fairly unrealistic) graphic cartoon violence, live in a country with ridiculously strict videogame censorship laws and/or are under the age of about 15/16, then it’s probably best to avoid this mod. You have been warned.

Although, saying this, “Brutal Doom” does a lot more than just quadruple the amount of pixellated blood and guts in the game though.

One of the really interesting features in “Brutal Doom” is that the basic pistol (you know, the one that no-one uses after about halfway through the first level or after they find the chainsaw) has been replaced with an assault rifle, which is actually a useful weapon – since the chaingun is a lot less accurate in this mod.

Interestingly, the assault rifle also looks like one of the weapons from the Alpha/Beta versions of “Doom” too (I’m not sure if this was intentional or not).

Plus, all of the weapons have much more interesting recoil effects (and knockback if you shoot a gun into a wall that you’re standing next to) and quite a few of the weapons now have secondary fire modes too (for example: you can fire the individual barrels of the super shotgun instead of firing them both at once).

“Brutal Doom” also has a more realistic reloading system too (where there is a short reloading animation after a certain number of shots). Sometimes the ammo level for a weapon won’t drop until you’ve emptied the magazine and, when you’re ammo counter is at zero – you still have whatever is left in the magazine to use too. Whilst this doesn’t affect the gameplay too much, it makes the more intense parts of the game even more challenging.

Another really cool feature, which I discovered by accident, is the fact that – if you blow them up with the rocket launcher – some enemies will occasionally drop new weapons. So far, I’ve found the Mancubus’s flamethrower, the Revenant’s dual rocket launchers and a ‘demonic rune’ of some kind which acts in a similar way to the ‘beserker’ power-up (with some extra animations, but no health boost). I’m not sure if there are any other hidden weapons in this mod, but the ones I’ve found so far work really well and really add something to the game.

Even dying (and, if you’re playing a difficult episode like “The Plutonia Experiment”, then you’ll be doing a lot of this..) is a lot more spectacular with this mod than it is in the unmodified versions of “Doom”. Every time you die, you’re treated to a third-person fatality animation which differs depending on which type of enemy has killed you.

For example, if a Mancubus kills you, then your character will catch fire and run around for a few seconds. My favourite fatality animation so far is probably the one you see if a Cacodemon kills you. This may just be my twisted sense of humour, but the first half of this animation still makes me laugh every time I see it. [Edit: Unfortunately, this animation only plays if a Cacodemon kills you with it’s short range attack]

Likewise, the enemy death animations are quite different, and a lot more macabre, than those from the original “Doom” game too. Some of them also kind of reminded me slightly of “Duke Nukem 3D” too (another classic 1990s FPS game). [Edit: I’ve just realised that, if you press “Q” you can kick nearby enemies – this is kind of similar to the melee shove feature in “Left 4 Dead 2” and the animation looks similar to the kicking animation in “Duke Nukem 3D too”]

There are also some graphical improvements too – such as lens flare effects for flames and things like that. I’m not sure if this is part of the mod or whether it’s part of “GZ Doom” [I’ve just checked and it’s actually part of “GZ Doom” rather than the mod], but it really adds something to the game.

All in all, this is a seriously impressive mod. It turns an already perfect game into something even more challenging, intense and (dare I say it) more perfect. All of the new gameplay mechanics work really well and add a lot to the game. if I had to give this mod a rating out of five, then it’d definitely get a five.

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Installing “Brutal Doom”

In order to play “Brutal Doom“, you need a copy of “Doom”, “Doom II”, “Final Doom” or (if you don’t actually own a copy of “Doom”) “Freedoom” as well as the GZ Doom source port for “Doom” too.

(Note: the fatality animations might not work if you have “Freedoom” though, since they’re based on the sprites for the players and enemies in the original games).

Once you’ve installed/extracted “GZ Doom”, copy the IWAD file (which should be called “doom.wad”, “doom2.wad”, “plutonia.wad” or “tnt.wad”) from your Doom game into the ‘gzdoom’ folder on your computer.

Then unzip the “Brutal Doom” file you’ve downloaded from Mod DB and copy the “brutalv018a.pk3” file (or whatever the “.pk3” file is for the version of “Brutal Doom” you’ve downloaded) into your ‘gzdoom’ folder.

Then, if you want to play “Brutal Doom”, just (and this is where it gets strange) drag and drop the “brutalv018a.pk3” file onto the GZ Doom icon and [possibly depending on your operating system] a dialogue box should come up asking you if you want to run the program.

Just click “run” or “ok” and the game should start….

Today’s “Damania” Comics (29th June 2013)

Well, I made four “Damania” comics today and I’m really proud of how they all turned out too 🙂

As usual, these four comics are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Licence.

"Damania - Achievement" By C.A.Brown

“Damania – Achievement” By C.A.Brown

“Damania – Achievement” ended up being more cynical than I originally intended. My original plan was for Rox to point out to Derek that achievements are basically the modern equivalents of high scores, bonuses etc.. in old computer games. Then I thought of a slightly funnier ending.

I don’t know, I can see why games companies add “easy” achievements to computer games (eg: To teach new players how to do things in the game, to keep new players immersed in the game, because getting achievements feels great etc…) But, thinking about it cynically, it kind of defeats the point of having achievements in the first place…

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"Damania - Festival Arrival" By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Festival Arrival” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Festival Arrival” is the beginning of a story arc which I’ll probably continue tomorrow. I’m quite proud of how this comic turned out, even if it was slightly rushed.

Oh, if anyone is interested, an old sketch of “Hydraulophone and Sousveillance” (a fictitious nerdcore rapper character I came up with in 2010) can be found here.

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"Damania - Skeletons" By C.A.Brown

“Damania – Skeletons” By C.A.Brown

“Damania – Skeletons” is another comic in my “Arch-Nemesis” story arc and it turned out really well too 🙂

But, yeah, “Damania – Skeletons” is kind of a comic about the fact that whenever Harvey is alone, everything suddenly goes into B&W/greyscale, like an old detective movie.

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"Damania - Does Anyone Remember These?" By C.A.Brown

“Damania – Does Anyone Remember These?” By C.A.Brown

“Damania – Does Anyone Remember These?” was inspired by the fact that, quite a while earlier, I rediscovered some old CD singles (from the 90s and early-mid 00s) which had been sitting in my CD rack and gathering dust. Anyway, I suddenly realised that… well, people just don’t really make CD singles these days..

Review: “American McGee’s Alice” ( Computer Game)

“American McGee’s Alice” was a computer game which was released in 2000, it’s also one of the few console-style 3D platform games (although it sometimes plays a bit like a third-person FPS game, since it uses the same engine as “Quake III”) that I’ve ever found for the PC.

It is an unsettlingly gothic re-telling of “Alice In Wonderland” which takes place entirely in the mind of an older (probably about seventeen or eighteen) version of Alice whilst she is lying in a coma in a Victorian mental asylum following a long period of mental illness brought on by survivor’s guilt after the rest of her family died in a house fire when she was a child.

Needless to say, the wonderland which she visited when she was younger has now been twisted, corrupted and distorted out of all recognition.

Yes, this definitely isn’t a game for children. But, saying that, it isn’t the most disturbing “Alice In Wonderland”-related thing I’ve ever seen either. That honour has to go to an extremely macabre horror comic called “Return To Wonderland” by Raven Gregory, Daniel Leister and Nei Ruffino (maybe I’ll review this some other time…).

Anyway, I discovered “American McGee’s Alice” by accident whilst browsing through a charity shop in 2010, the cover art looked interestingly gothic and it was fairly cheap too. Interestingly, this was the same charity shop where I found “Doom 3” for about £4 back in late 2006, seriously that place is a goldmine. Anyway, as soon as I started playing this game, I kept playing it – in fact, it’s probably been quite a major influence on some of my art too (it’s no coincidence that I started using checkerboard designs in a lot more of my drawings since I first discovered this game).

One really brilliant thing about this game is it’s visual style. Even though the graphics look fairly old these days, it is still a work of art and there isn’t really anything else like it (apart from it’s sequel, which I’ve only had the chance to play a few times). Yes, it contains some of the ‘traditional’ 3D platform game settings (eg: one part of the game takes place in an ice world) but most of the settings have their own distinctive ‘twisted Victorian fairytale’ style to them and even the map of Wonderland itself looks wonderfully nightmarish, surreal and evil too [here’s a picture of it, although it obviously contains some spoilers].

Another great thing about this game are the characters – particularly the Cheshire Cat, who serves as your companion and narrator throughout the game. Apparently, he was originally supposed to follow you throughout the game and help you out during combat, but this was scrapped for some reason. Even so, you can still make him appear briefly and give you menacingly cynical advice if you press a button on the keyboard. All of the other characters are really interesting too and you’ll probably recognise quite a few of them from the original novel, even though they’ve been….. changed somewhat.

“American Mc Gee’s Alice” is also one of the few games I’ve played where I’ve really noticed the soundtrack too. Chris Vrenna wrote and performed the music for this game and it fits the game absolutely perfectly. In fact, it’s one of the main things which makes it such an atmospheric, haunting and unsettling game.

The weapons in “Alice” are really innovative too and they range from a deck of sharpened cards which can be thrown at your enemies, to a watch that can stop time for about twenty seconds to a collection of diabolical dice which can be used to summon small demons who will attack any enemies nearby (however, if they are summoned when there are no enemies nearby, they will start attacking you instead).

Most of the nine or ten weapons in this game also have an alternate firing mode too – which can come in handy as well. However, the most powerful weapon in the game (the blunderbuss) can only be found in two hidden locations (the first one pretty much requires a walkthrough to discover but you’re probably more likely to find the second one on your own).

One interesting thing, which is both convenient and inconvenient is that almost all of the weapons don’t have separate types of ammunition. Instead, they take “meta essence” from an energy bar at the side of the screen which can be refilled by finding power-ups and defeating enemies. This is useful since it means that you can use any of your weapons if you have enough “meta essence”, but it also means that you have to be a lot more careful too – since if one of your weapons runs out of ammo, then they all run out of ammo.

All in all, this is an incredibly atmospheric, original and imaginative game which is extremely fun to play too. Yes, it’s a fairly old game – but don’t let this put you off playing it, it’s probably got more atmosphere than quite a few modern games can even dream of (along with “The Longest Journey”] it’s further proof of my theory that computer games, as an art form, were at their best in the mid-late 1990s and early 2000s). If you like horror games, anything Victorian or anything gothic – then you will probably love this game. If I had to give it a rating out of five, then it’d probably get a six.

Classic “Damania” Comics – Part 3

Well, today’s instalment in my classic “Damania” Comics series includes four more of my favourite comics from 2012 – “Damania – Dystopia”, “Damania- Necropolis”, “Damania – Dillinger” and “Damania – Coelacanth” (well, I had to include the ‘coelacanth’ one somewhere)

I think I might make a fourth instalment of this series for tomorrow too, just in case I don’t get a chance to post any new comics them – hopefully I will though.

These “Classic Damania” posts will be automatically published. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make some new comics today too – but I don’t know if I’ll publish them all here on Sunday (or possibly even Monday) or whether I’ll publish them on the day that they’re made. Watch this space – and stay tuned for tomorrow’s classic comics too [which should be published at 3-4pm – I’m not sure if this will be Greenwich Mean Time or British Summer Time or something else, I’m not sure which time zone WordPress uses].

As always, these four classic comics are released under a Creative Commons BY- NC-ND licence.

"Damania - Dystopia" By C. A. Brown [16th November 2012]

“Damania – Dystopia” By C. A. Brown [16th November 2012]

"Damania - Necropolis" By C.A.Brown [21st October 2012]

“Damania – Necropolis” By C.A.Brown [21st October 2012]

"Damania - Dillinger" By C. A. Brown [25th October 2012]

“Damania – Dillinger” By C. A. Brown [25th October 2012]

"Damania - Coelacanth" By C. A. Brown [25th August 2012]

“Damania – Coelacanth” By C. A. Brown [25th August 2012]

Today’s “Damania” Comics (28th June 2013)

Well, I made four “Damania” comics today . Annoyingly, the writing in most them didn’t turn out as well as I hoped – but I still really like the art in all of them.

As usual, these four comics are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Licence.

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"Damania - Strange Noises" By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Strange Noises” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Strange Noises” is probably my favourite one of today’s “Damania” comics, although the punchline in the last panel is very slightly similar to a “Damania” comic I made last October called “Damania – Beyond The Fourth Wall“.

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"Damania - Secret Catacombs" By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Secret Catacombs” By C. A. Brown

Although the ending of “Damania – Secret Catacombs” wasn’t quite as funny as I hoped it would be, I guess that the centres of most old catacombs are probably actuallt quite boring. Still, I really like the art in this comic.

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"Damania - Cloned Dinosaur" By C.A.Brown

“Damania – Cloned Dinosaur” By C.A.Brown

“Damania – Cloned Dinosaur” started out as an excuse to draw a large monster of some kind – although I eventually ended up drawing a dinosaur instead. I don’t know, this is more of an art-based comic really (since I kind of had writer’s block when it came to writing the dialogue).

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"Damania - Editorial" By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Editorial” By C. A. Brown

“Damania – Editorial” is another comic in my ‘Arch Nemesis’ story arc. In retrospect, this should have just been a three-panel comic – since the fourth panel didn’t really work as well as I hoped it would and the dialogue in the third panel would probably make quite a good punchline for the whole comic.