Posted Jul.27.13 at 11:56 pm
A buddy of mine who helped early Whomp!
find its footing in literary adequacy gave me a shout out in his newest podcast where he talks at you about classic films (and by classic, I mean B-movies). He's a knowledgeable fella, so if that's something you're into, check out Camp Counseling
Posted Jul.15.13 at 02:12 pm
Update: Fixed some of the image links and stuff
And by con, of course I mean the weekend of having cool people tell me they like what I do!
So I'll start by saying thanks to Connecticon for inviting the Hiveworks family to attend the convention. I had a great time, and I wanted to share with you the pictures I took of all the great people who came to see me!
Not pictured are some terrific people whom I either did or didn't meet. A lot of them were fellow cartoonists such as Dave Lumsdon, Phil Kahn, Kelly Turnbull, and more terrific people who, if I haven't named you, I assure you that I love you guys. Also to any of the fans whom I forgot to get a picture with, I'm also sorry about that! I was either too busy or too forgetful. But you're in my heart forever (in the form of grease from Chikky Nuggz I will eat while thinking of you).
Anyone I didn't mention, and you know who you are, you made this convention one of the best experiences of my life, and I hope to have many more like it.
Day one started great, except I forgot to show my teeth. I never took a ton of pictures of myself before, so I never really cared that my mouth hardly opens enough to show off my teeth. So I swear, I do have teeth!
I totally, totally do.
(Click "Read the rest of this entry" to go to the pictures!)
This is the first fan who came to see me! Now you can see him... forever.
This guy's hair was kinda pointing at me. I can appreciate that kind of commitment.
I was going to make a dumb comment about the pointing in this one too, but my god, my head is huge. I can't think about anything else.
I suddenly noticed my hairy chest in this one. Why hello there handsome.
Your hair reminds me of twizzlers and cotton candy and I am so hungry, you guys.
I SEE YOU BACK THERE TRYING TO SNEAK IN ON OUR MOMENT
AH HA, I GOTCHA. Come here and hug me.
Most of these people I just had a death grip on their shoulder and demanded they smile or that I'd start crying.
TF2 Soldier. Best class? Or GREATEST class? (Both)
But seriously, why is my head so big?
Who let these handsome people near my booth? Everyone's so good looking. Hi there handsome guy. Remember me? I was the one who made you take a picture.
Gundam is anime. I like anime!
My hair has started on its 'I've been moving around a lot' journey into an Irish afro.
Trying desperately to prove I have teeth.
My face doesn't look nearly as excited as I was to be in this picture. I was pumped to be in the presence of pure rock!
This guy is cosplaying as my friend. XXXOOO
I didn't even see Mio-chan on this guy's shirt. I was just psyched about the beard!
More great teeth. Agh, I am so jealous. Hey look at my tongue. It's like, totally right there.
Then I met the real Lara Croft. I was so excited I couldn't get the camera to focus.
Let's try agai- nope. Hey Mike.
There we go! And then I stressed so much about getting a good picture, I suddenly look horrified at the very concept of capturing light.
oh god why
We're in the Similar Glasses Club. It meets behind the nowhere!
I loved the tall people most of all, because they made me feel safe
My face looks like I just heard about some particularly juicy celebrity gossip.
Future and past meet in the worst place ever- my booth!
Another kind soul to make me feel safe in this dangerous world
Lemme just get my head in front of yours like I'm not taking up enough of the photo real estate as it is...
I SAID GET BEHIND ME. I'M THE STAR. ME.
No, put those cards away! Ahhh my drawings, I'm so bashful.
I will pull on you so hard that you disappear into my body. We're nearly there, heave ho!
Keep? KEEP WHAT? If it says keep away, I'm going to be very embarrassed that I didn't read his instructions properly. Always follow t-shirt rules.
HEY MY HEAD IS THREE TIMES AS BIG AS YOURS HEY LOOK AT MY CAMERA WHILE I PUSH BUTTONS ON IT
I really REALLY hope my anti-antiperspirant is working.
Sometimes we wish not to smile. Let's take a moment of silence to remember those times.
Yeah! A great look at my ill-planned booth layout! I swear it'll be better next time I do this!
Get behind my head. I must be the focus at all times
Someone throw popcorn in my mouth. Just grab a big handfull and toss it. Something will get in there
I got legit excited that this might be Demetri Martin, but I'll bet he's cooler than like twenty Demetri Martins.
The last day begins, and I'm down to my last Hawaiian shirt. In case of emergency, a fan-gifted Green Lantern shirt lies beneath, waiting.
Let me put my hair in your face. I demand you smell it and tell me it's nice
This one managed to get away, but worry not. The enzymes will consume him.
No but seriously, I always knew I had a big head, and maybe the way I'm taking the pictures is distorting it a bit, but god dang you guys
Michael Lunsford unwittingly in my selfie. Just remember that I'm the star
And last but not least, Jojo who is the one who ultimately made it possible for me to make it to Connecticon when I never would have done it myself. Thanks Jojo
Thank you to everyone who made this a fun convention. I hope to see you all again real soon.
Posted Jun.18.13 at 12:30 pm
Just postin' again to say look for me in the Online Media area at the Hiveworks booth on July 12th through the 14th. I'm not sure if I'll have enough books to bring, so if you have the option, come on the first day. If my books run out, I'll still be supplying commission sketches and like, awkward stares.
Also, I don't know if I'll have a way to process credit/debit/checks on the day, so you may want to have cash on hand if you want to buy something.
But if you already have books, don't have the cash or anything at all, just come by anyway and say 'Hi'! We'll get our picture taken, it'll be very romantic.
Posted Jun.17.13 at 01:49 pm
Update: Everything should be cleared out. If you see something, it could be that you need to clear your cache or restart your browser. If an actual issue arises again, we've probably already spotted it and are dead on its trail. So rest assured, dear Whomp!ers, you're safe in my warm, warm beard.
You may have gotten a warning trying to get here, but there's no malware. We looked into it, and it's much more harmless than it would have you believe. Unfortunately, the site has been tagged as harmful, so now everyone's getting warnings.
Regardless, we have people on the job working hard to get this taken care of. I'm sorry, and thank you very much for your patience.
Posted Jun.17.13 at 10:51 am
If you wanna see ol' Ronnie in the flesh (and there's a lot of flesh, I assure you), then you can do so at Connecticon in the Online Media section on July 12th, 13th and 14th. See me on the first day, because I am not sure how many books I'll need, and I'm unsure if I'll sell out early, since this is my first convention.
See ya there, Whompers!
Posted May.17.13 at 03:01 am
So I did it, you guys. I went into the hospital and said "Give me the best surgery you got." So they took out my gall bladder, and threw in a bonus hernia repair. Apparently it was worse than previously realized! I forgot to tell the surgeon about it until the last moment, but let's back up a bit.
I went into the hospital at 7:45AM. That was my check-in time, but I like to be early. My car started making a knocking noise, so I had to hurry and get a different ride in case it was a serious car problem.
So I immediately got into room 6 where a Nurse took good care of me until it was surgery time. She stuck an IV needle in my hand, and for a while I was freaking out because apparently I had metal in my hand! Should I not move my hand? Won't the metal cut up my veins? I remembered from a time my cat got surgery that his IV insert was a plastic tube, but I didn't think such a luxury would be available to humans. However, when the nurse finally explained to me that the insert was indeed a plastic tube that replaced the needle, I felt much better
Next the fluids started flowing in me; painkillers, sedatives and anti-nausea medication. I can't tell you how glad I was for all the anti-nausea stuff (I even asked for seconds) because man, I was sick all day.
After we took care of some paperwork, the anesthesiologist came in and talked to me. He seemed very nice. Everyone seemed nice, in fact.
By now, I was naked except for a robe. They said I could keep my socks on, but that somehow seemed even worse than being naked.
The nurse then shaved my belly. I am very ticklish on my belly, so it was mostly me trying to look tough while my belly jumped and jiggled like a cat fighting to get out of a burlap sack. When she shaved my belly button, it reminded me that they may use my belly button as a point of entry for the laproscopic surgery. I explained to the nurse that I probably have an umbilical hernia, so the surgeon should be careful not to nick my intestines. Of course, I knew I'd be speaking to the surgeon later, but it was a precaution nonetheless.
Next I was rolled into the surgery room, and this is where it got weird for me. I looked over at a woman sitting in the corner. I smiled and waved at her and she smiled and waved back. Then, I immediately woke up in the wakeup room, at least according to the memories I retained. I've never had general anesthesia, so I didn't know there was actual memory loss. It was kinda cool and scary. I know at some point I probably talked to my surgeon and agreed to him fixing my hernia if it was worse than expected. Also they probably put a mask on me and had me count backwards from 10, right? That's how it is on TV, anyway.
So I woke up in a lot more pain than expected, but I'm glad it got fixed, and I'm feeling better already. What surprised me most was how much my throat hurt. The anesthesiologist explained before that he would be intubating me (inserting a tube in the trachea to help control airflow and anesthesia) but it would happen while I was asleep so I wouldn't have to experience it. So the sore throat was a very interesting side effect of that procedure.
The ride home was probably the worst. The motion made me ill, but I held it together, and my god am I glad I didn't take the barf train to Pukestown.
Posted May.07.13 at 11:19 pm
I'm gonna keep this short because it's not even a big deal.
I went to the doc and he said I gots gall stones. Gonna get my gall bladder out on May 14.
Just figured y'all might be wondering from some of the comics.
AIGHT I'M OUT!
Posted Apr.07.13 at 11:39 pm
Hey guys, I didn't realize it, but my address email@example.com wasn't working for a while. If I didn't respond to your e-mail, that was why. I'm going to spend the next day responding to every message I missed in the last few months.
Sorry about that, we're getting it fixed right away!
Posted Apr.05.13 at 03:00 am
Today's strip was a bit rushed, because I had reservations about the strip that was supposed to go in its place. For that reason, I'll just put it here.
Alt Text: I once asked him why he's here. He never stopped screaming, yet still managed to wail a soliloquy in a language long gone from a world that once twinkled in the night sky.
Don't think about it, don't talk to anyone about it. Let's just leave it there to soak in the juices of the universe into which its awful existence has been wretched.
Posted Mar.18.13 at 05:09 pm
So, I've enjoyed Harvest Moon for a long time. I started at the SNES version and naturally worked upward from there.
Currently I'm playing the 3DS version "A New Beginning," but more on that later.
If you've never heard of Harvest Moon, it's basically about running a farm. Planting crops, tending animals, selling products, and even getting married and having a kid. You usually upgrade your tools for more efficient farming, and make friends with villagers by giving them gifts.
The first mistake most people might have is thinking it's a simulator. It's not at all. There are plenty of proper farming simulators out there, but there are no other franchises that have the style and personality of a Harvest Moon title. You could reasonably compare it to Animal Crossing without being extremely off-base. However, I've never enjoyed an Animal Crossing game in the same way I enjoy Harvest Moon. There's really no game like it.
So where does one start? What's the apex of the Harvest Moon series? I think a lot of people will agree that there are 3 major Harvest Moon titles that really defined the genre. While your favorite may be different from one of these, they tend to represent the series in the truest manner, for better or worse.
These titles are:
Friends of Mineral Town (Gameboy Advance)
Harvest Moon 64 (Nintendo 64)
Back to Nature (Playstation 1)
They have all of the major trappings such as extensive mining, interesting characters, and interactive festival events. The lesser titles of the Harvest Moon series tend to skirt on some of these basic things, and their sales numbers often proved that players want certain things out of a Harvest Moon game.
My personal favorite is Back to Nature, but I find all three of those to be fun, true versions.
I'm not going to go through each game in the series and say which ones I like and which I don't, but I will make some general statements.
The titles on the Wii, for example, seem to be very poor examples of what the series should be (Specifically Tree of Tranquility and Animal Parade). Everything is slow, clunky, and the frame rates are terrible. The character designs are also uninspired. Everybody looks like a Mii, and that is not what a Harvest Moon character should look like. After playing hours of Animal Parade and quitting several times out of frustration, I finally decided it's an extremely poor installment. I didn't make it far into Tree of Tranquility, which seemed to have a lot of the same problems.
The later titles on the DS (mainly Tale of Two Towns and Grand Bazaar) are also large departures from what a lot of people loved about the Harvest Moon series. Not many people cite them as their favorites. The earlier titles on the DS had some good points, however. Island Of Happiness, Sunshine Islands and Harvest Moon DS are all very competent versions, and I enjoyed each of them.
Many people like Magical Melody for the Gamecube and Wii. A lot of the trappings were there, but I found the controls to be extremely unforgiving.
I won't go into any more detail about the games other than the newest version I've been playing lately, which is Harvest Moon: A New Beginning.
When I first start it, I notice two things.
1) These are really good character designs. Maybe the best ever.
2) There's no one here and nothing to do!
The first month, you're thrown into a tutorial mode that, if you weren't told about it from an outside source, you would think this was all the game was. You have a few plots in which to plant (with no indication you ever be able to plant more than a few crops at a time). Also, there are literally only 3 people in town! And zero bachelors/bachelorettes to woo. There seems to be no mine either. For a month, you're left wondering if this is all there is.
Thankfully once you're at around the 25th, things start opening up, almost to a point where you think you're drowning. More people come to town, and you can build things to bring more people in. Once you build things, other places open up, and it's a sort of cascade of new content all coming at you at once. I wondered if I would have been overwhelmed if it started with everything already opened up, but I can't be sure now.
At this point, I can say it lives up to the reputation of being a good harvest moon title, and I've been considering things that could make it better, and how it's improved over past iterations.
One thing it does right is the ruck sack. For some reason, I've always felt that you should be able to upgrade your ruck sack instead of it just starting maxed out. My only regret is I've already maxed it out, so I don't get to do that anymore.
Other things I think it does right:
- You can move anything and everything. Every farming plot on your land, every building on your farm (including your house), every building/house in town, every road, everything. You can move all of it and arrange it to how you want. If there's one character in particular you really want to build a friendship with, you can put their house right next to your road into town, and you will pass them every day, making it easier than it's ever been.
- Trees/stones don't take a lot of time to chop/break. Even if you have 99 branches in your ruck sack, you can simply place them on the ground, and with one whack, turn them into 99 pieces of lumber. Full-sized trees only take two whacks with an axe (if your axe is the right level for the tree), cutting down on some of the tedium.
- The crafting system. You can make a heck of a lot of stuff. You make all of your own buildings and equipment, as well as decorations for a variety of reasons.
It could do better in these areas:
- There is a long unskippable cutscene almost every day between 10AM-10:15AM and 6PM-6:15PM if you happen to be outside. This is completely unnecessary. You will find yourself hiding indoors during these times.
- People only working 3-4 days a week. This is unacceptable. There's nothing more frustrating than having to wait until a day someone opens, and even then they're not open until 10AM.
- Not knowing how to access something. I wanted to some mining, for example. However, the mine doesn't become available until you build completely unrelated buildings in town.
- You can only mine a small amount each day. Mining is my favorite part of Harvest Moon, and it feels like they're always trying to remove or minimize it as much as possible.
- This is kind of a positive and negative, but there is a huge amount of different creatures. At some point, I think it would be okay to just have a dragonfly instead of 4 different species of dragonfly. Same goes with fish.
- You're told right away that giving people gifts is a good way to get things in return. So far, I've been giving people a lot of stuff they like, but I've only ever gotten anything from the blacksmith.
- Giving someone something they don't like makes them like you less.
A lot of these downsides go into a theory I have that a lot of these mechanics are designed to keep you playing as long as possible. They're getting better at hiding this, but I don't understand why they need you to play a single-player game for 200 hours. I think anyone would be happy with just 30 hours of really good gameplay, and it would do a lot better with what I imagine is a market that is growing older and has less time to play games.
All that said, it's a good game. It's probably the best Harvest Moon in a long time, and I recommend it.
Now, before I said there was no franchise that was like Harvest Moon. However, that was a lie. There is a franchise that is very much like Harvest Moon. In fact, it's so much like it that it would be positively litigious... if it weren't made by the same company.
That franchise, of course, is Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon.
For a long time, I thought "Right. It's probably nothing like Harvest Moon. They're just trying to push their new RPG - trying to expand the market." But in reality, that is exactly what it is. Take your favorite Harvest Moon game, now put in weapons, monsters and dungeons. That's Rune Factory.
The series started on the DS, which I think is smart. Handhelds are still the perfect way to play Harvest Moon/Rune Factory, in my opinion.
The first Rune Factory was pretty decent. It played and felt a lot like an RPG version of Friends of Mineral Town, and was all around pretty solid.
Unfortunately Rune Factory 2 was practically broken by design. The voice acting was terrible, and you are tutorialized until you're married! It's your son who plays the real game. This sounds like it can work in theory, but it simply doesn't. Just skip this one.
Now you're up to the third installment on the DS, Rune Factory 3. This is, in my opinion, the best Rune Factory of all time. It's fast, the controls feel great, the fishing's great, the characters are all really interesting, and it's the only game I've ever played where the English voice acting is better than the Japanese. My only complaint is you can pretty much beat the whole game in one game year, and the days go by pretty quick. It's way too fun to be over so soon.
On the Wii titles, we first have Rune Factory Frontier. This game came before Rune Factory 3, and possibly as a result, didn't have the quick excitement of Rune Factory 3. It's still a great version of Rune Factory I've enjoyed more than once. It also has the first fat bachelorette. That's kind of charming really, but the artist they used didn't really know how to draw fat girls, I think.
Tides of Destiny was... confusing. I don't think people should play it looking for a proper Harvest Moon RPG experience. It almost swept under the rug the importance of farming in favor of the relationship and fighting mechanics. I managed to max out all relationships and get married with a kid and all that, but at no point did I really feel like I cared. It kept me going, but it wasn't the Rune Factory I was looking for.
On the horizon is Rune Factory 4. I'll definitely be buying it, regardless of reviews, because I need to see for myself what it is, no matter what. It's my sincere wish that it holds securely to what Rune Factory 3 did, but with a bit more content.
So, that was probably pretty rambling, but I hope I gave you some idea of the series if you weren't familiar with it. If you liked some of the ones I didn't, that's okay. I'm definitely not here to tell you your tastes are bad. There's value in only liking the black sheep of a series.
Keep on harvestin' those moons.