Alrighty, my faithful fellows and felines, the votes for Death by Design’s first “Bros Before Bourgeoisie” t-shirt have all been counted, and we now know who it is YOU wanted to be your winner.
In second place – which was a very close tie with the one that came in third – was Bros Before Cabals. However, the one that had more than double the votes of either of the other choices, is none other than Bros Before Propaganda!!
I want to personally thank everyone who keeps participating in Ronin Yeti Design’s new brand, Death by Design, and know that this is just the beginning. For those that casted a vote for the winner, you will receive a discount on said shirt when they are made. For those that didn’t choose the winner, but still had the strength to vote, you will be eligible to buy one of these Limited Edition shirts, which will not be available after a certain number of them is printed.
Again, thanks for choosing freedom and liberty over Death!
(P.S. I also wanted to share the other two .gifs I had created, just in case either one of the other two actually won.)
In one of my previous posts, I unveiled the first piece from a new brand line (of stickers, logos, shirts, bumper stickers, etc.) that I’ve been contemplating on for the past few years. I also mentioned a little bit of history of this new brand (by the name of “Death by Design”), and talked about how it came to be and what I was wanting out of the project. In this post, I’ll keep going over a bit of what I hope to get out of it, and present the second piece I’ve worked on recently.
Death by Design, as somewhat mentioned on the Fiends For Coal sticker post, is a modern day brand that invokes the simplest of questions: are we doing what is best for ourselves and our planet? Albeit being a very generalized question, it allows me to branch out on ideas and have an arsenal of satirical, yet truth-infused pieces that could be developed. For example, with the Fiends For Coal sticker (the original version saying “Friends of Coal”), it should engender curiosity and wonder; who are these “friends” of coal? Are they friends of normal people? Are they friends of safe and renewable energy resources? The answers to the two latter questions, would sadly be a “no.” I won’t go back into my thoughts (based on empirical data) on how archaic coal is in the modern day, for one can go back and read that post.
Going back on the question of “why,” I would like to point out that a lot of businesses and institutions in America (and perhaps the rest of the world, I am not going to assume too much) say one thing and do another, completely disregarding their prior promises and the health and stability of the masses. They care more about the machine – rather the parts or tools; namely us – because from their mighty, on-high, narcissistic perspectives, they truly believe any end is justified through whatever means is necessary, and if they can save a buck by feeding you a slow-acting poison, they will certainly oblige.
That’s where my next piece comes in. Most people don’t realize, nor care, that Wal-Mart is one of the biggest retail stores in America, and has integrated itself so deeply into the land of this country, that ripping it out could see unforeseen consequences. I say this, because they are one of the biggest reasons so many family owned businesses have either been bought out, or bull-dozed over, in the past 20 years or so. I am not going to even mention how they treat their employees, because to be honest, if one works at Wal-Mart, they are a masochist and must enjoy the torment and are not worth mentioning here. The products they sell to these misguided people (most of which are poor) are of the worst quality, selling food brands that act as physical and mental poisons, selling clothing brands that are made of the most flammable materials, selling stuff so low that other stores just can’t compete (and hence, go out of business, as well), etc, etc, etc. Suffice to say, I hate Wal-Mart for objective reasons, have been boycotting them for 6 years (of which I always suggest others of doing the same), and expect them to be as pertinent as metal socks in the coming future; one can hope and dream!
Back during the days of when Animal Crossing for the Gamecube first came out, me and my girlfriend at the time were obsessed with constantly pruning grass, catching fish, blabbering on with the other townsfolk, and getting into trouble with the mayor. Within the game, it allowed you to meet a pair of clothing designers, and gave the player a choice to create their own styles of clothing (using a primitive yet effective pixel-art designer). Back then (and still to this day), I was enthralled with the color black and images of death and rebirth. I decided after picking up my 1000th conch shell from the beach, I needed a new hobby, and made my way to said clothing store, to try my controller at a new endeavor. After days of pushing little colored blocks beside one another, seemingly trying to create shapes that actually looked like what I wanted them to, I was able to create my first shirt design (one with a basic flaming skull on both the front and back). It didn’t take too long for the other townspeople to flock to this new brand, and within a couple of in-game days they all began wearing the pieces of garb I had made (I think I had also created an umbrella design and maybe even something else, even though I almost can’t recall).
As in typical role-playing fashion (heh, a pun), I dubbed my new line of clothing as “Death by Design,” a somewhat witty and introspective name that was supposed to garner feelings of chicness and ominous doom. Many years later (almost 15 years, to be exact), I decided after learning a bit about graphic design, I would revitalize the brand name, and create real life pieces (stickers, logos, shirts, etc.) based on the same name, but with a newfound purpose. I will go more into the true purpose behind the name once I create more pieces and post about them, so stay tuned about that.
However, before I leave, let me comment on the images you see above. Here in the Appalachia region of America, there are a lot of coal mines and even more coal mine workers. They (and the companies that feed off their hard work) are fiends for coal and the life of a coal miner. Most of them can’t even conceive of other types of energy sources, and swears by their ancestors that coal “keeps the lights on” (although indeed it helps, but here in 2018, there are way more options than we had hundreds of years ago). With all of that being said, most of these people, their families, and other dimwitted fans of the black rock have taken it upon themselves to spread the word of coal by slapping stickers on their vehicles (typically on the license plates), pushing the propaganda that coal is by far the friendliest energy source there ever could be (of which studies have shown this to be absolutely WRONG). So, much to the happiness and glee of my wife, I decided to create a parody of the famous sticker (of which originally says “Friends of Coal”), and turn it on its head. Using subtle differences, but obviously pushing my own agenda in full force, I wanted people to begin questioning the onslaught of deceitful stickers that plague the backs of so many cars and trucks (mostly BMWs and Trucks 5 times the size of any normal vehicle), and wonder if coal truly can keep the lights on in the long term without destroying the planet in the process. Or, perhaps, it is just a remnant of the past, one that should never be forgotten, but should also be put to the side, to make way for better energy resources.
Not too long ago, I posted 3 different, working templates for a new DeskMate logo I had been designing for my wife’s Virtual Assistant business, and now I get to show off the final versions that were born from those collages. After slimming down all of the choices I had created, we both agreed that this version – with the more blocky, serif font and stylized envelope/letter “M” – captured the essence of what DeskMate was all about. The colors we decided upon were taken from the color palette we had already finalized with her last website icons that were created, keeping the same light blue and gold from those pieces, and implementing solid black wherever appropriate.
The reason for multiple “final” versions of this logo was so she could use them amongst different backgrounds, websites, etc. Even though this might look simple (which is is), I am proud of this design. I have had my hand in several projects before, but none that called for subtlety over flare, and I was thrilled to be able to stretch myself to be able to create something that is both easy to look at, but has a double-meaning hiding in plain sight. I hope she is able to use these logos as much as possible, and that it helps her business garner even more clients in the near future!
I have much confidence in my wife, and in any endeavor she puts her mind and little heart to, so I thought I would keep helping her with her VA side business as much as I could. I had already created some icons to encompass the feel of her business, a simple logo that went along with other icons I had created, and then I animated said icons so that they could be used as an interface for the homepage of her newly-created website. So now, using an initial idea that Aeowen had given me, we wanted to create a newer logo, a simple yet effective one that could be used for both printed and digital means.
The three different collages of images above are the steps I took in reiterating her idea into reality. The first collage had to do with the centerpiece of the logo, transforming the letter “M” into a envelope (which had been used on the first icons I made for her) using negative space in a clever way. As you can see, I created several versions of the stylized “M”, and eventually showed them to my wife, in which she decided on a few of them to be experimented with for the next step.
The second phase of this project had me implementing the actual name of her business – “DeskMate” – alongside some of the different “M’s” I had created, prior. I attempted to create 5 different versions of this logo, at this point, making sure the two different fonts we had chosen went along with the “M’s” that was agreed upon. Eventually, after taking a look at what I had done, she ended up boiling her choices down to two somewhat different styles, and then I created 5 variants of each, hoping to capture the look and feeling that was in her head within at least one of them.
We have, at this point, already figured out which ones out of the last collage above seemed the best of the best, and I will be posting about them in the near future!
2017 was a big year for both myself and my wife, both of us working towards our careers, trying to assess our place in this town and how we can possibly make extra money doing what we want to do. With that being said, this year of 2018 is looking to be even better, us both having multiple clients in our respective fields – expanding our experiences and knowledge – and we are determined to keep up the momentum we have created. Even though both of our projected careers are a bit different from one another, we are compelled to help one another succeed!
What you see above was my attempt at helping my wife, yet again. She was tasked by one of her clients to write a white research paper to summarize the history of artificial intelligence, and to weigh the pros and cons of implementing such an amazing technology into other mediums and uses. Like with most papers of that kind, she also had to have some custom graphics donning some of the pages (like bar graphs and other images), so she came to me hoping I would be able to come up with something simple and impactful for the front page of her report. I did some menial research into how AI is perceived through the lens of us humans, and decided to go through with recreating a consistent design I kept seeing through my searches: an artificial brain, of sorts.
Once I created several different styles, I stuck with one of them, and then decided to create different variations of what I, and my wife, had deemed to be appropriate. The three different iterations you see above are the best of the best I had created, and we eventually decided upon the graphic farthest to the right (the one with the pinky, squishy brain, compared to the more mechanical and/or colorful versions). I love helping clients create magic, but I cherish helping my love even more so; we are in this together, and we shall pierce the heavens with our endeavors!
For a quick recap, I wanted to post the original Photoshop portraits – that I had previously created for a prototype fighting system known as “Buntaien Brawlers” – one more time, considering I used them in the first version of the GM interface for “DDnD – Unsung Saviors.” The faces that can be seen above are of the 5 Buntaiens – the main characters of the current campaigns – that the players will be choosing from and eventually role-play as. In order from left to right, we have:
Yenen Gaiabeta, the Life/Energy Buntaien of Knowledge
Kaiel Genhold, the Friction/Water Buntaien of Passion
Draegon, the Movement/Wind Buntaien of Understanding
Wajoby, the Gravity/Earth Buntaien of Order
Luka Soar Akanashi, the Combustion/Flame Buntaien of Purpose
I would go more into what Buntaiens are, but I’ll let RuMa say that, itself, in an upcoming video of actual gameplay, with actual players! One last thing before I publish this post, within the GM Interface on the Player Viewer side, are different elements of which a GM can control other aspects of the game. Be on the lookout here soon for more VFX effects, and how they might tie in to the portraits seen above!
In the initial stages of working on “DDnD – Unsung Saviors,” I was debating on several way I could convey the game world to the players that would be playing over Discord. This was around the time they had just introduced screensharing and video calling options, so I knew I was going to be able to do more than just post static maps (or artwork of certain areas) into the Discord chat, in hopes of immersing the players in a way that I would have deemed worthy of the source material. That is where the roots of myself wanting to create a GM Interface came into existence, and what you see above is the first version of the RuMa Temple map, the main playing area of Campaign #1 – Tutorial.
The RuMa Temple of Par’N, as envisioned many years before creating this game, has gone through several iterations since “Legends of Saviors'” inception over two decades ago. Originally, the temple was made up of two giant, castle-like spires, built side by side, sticking out of the ocean off the coast of one of the main continent of the planet. RuMa, the entity itself – which was a bit more corporeal at the time – would sit in his throne room at the top of one of the spires, while his students would live and train at the top levels of the adjacent one.
As time went on, while creating more aspects of the original version of the story, a character named Yenen would eventually leave RuMa Temple and create his own castle-like domicile, and even right on the same coast that would be near his former home. Gameplay-wise, Yenen’s Castle would be a hub for players, where they could always come back and rest to regain health, spar with holographic enemies to level up, solve small mysteries within the building, itself, read about lore of Par’N in the library, and eventually build onto the castle to add even more usable rooms.
To make a long story short, I ended up combining both ideas of Yenen’s Castle and RuMa Temple into the newer version of the temple, and was inspired by an actual landmark on American soil (called the Devils Tower), which is a large, laccolithic butte mostly composed of a purple, igneous rock, that also juts out of the ocean (however, with this version, it sticks out at the tip of the northern pole). Considering the only way to enter the actual mountain, itself, is from a secret entryway on its plateaued top, not many have stepped foot on, or even into, the temple. On the inside, where certain monks lived for thousands of years – through many generations and historical eras – they ended up carving out hallways and rooms, to accommodate certain needs and wants that they had. When players enter this area in Campaign #1, some of the overarching mysteries they can optionally solve is who used to live here, why they chose this place to dwell, and where they all might have vanished to after so long of keeping this place sacred and secure.
I could go more into what each level and room above is called and meant for, but I think I will leave that up to the imagination for now, until I am able to post the videos of the game in action, from the very first team that have already tested the first campaign. Keep on the lookout for it soon!
On the Player Viewer side of the GM Interface for “DDnD – Unsung Saviors,” I created a lot of elements that would be able to convey to players what was going with their characters during battles and each campaign, overall. More often than not (other than during certain story-based events), players will only need to take their statistics into consideration when they are sparring with one another or battling against enemies. One important aspect players must always consider when fighting is their Soul Charge Level.
Originally in the prototype fighting system “Buntaien Brawlers” that I created before I enrolled in college back in 2015, players had a Chi Gauge, a Soul Meter, and Soul Charges to indicate their basic statistics. Every time a player would incur damage, their Chi Gauge would go down (according to a dice roll), while their Soul Charge would always go up by 1 point. For every 4th Soul Charge accumulated (up to a maximum of 12), the player would gain a Soul Charge Level (up to a maximum of 3). The importance of the Soul Charge system was to add in a level of growth and challenge during each battle, where for every Level gained, certain abilities could be used, and basic stats would be increased (based on which Level they had achieved).
The reason I just explained the Soul Charge system from an older project is because “DDnD – Unsung Saviors” also incorporates the same ideas and is portrayed through differently-colored emblem sprites for each of the 5 main Buntaien Characters. For each Soul Charge Level achieved, a designated emblem will show up on the Player Viewer side, to the far right side of each character’s other statistics.
I have, thus far, previously explained and presented the first version of the Character Deck for “DDnD – Unsung Saviors,” and then later, I gave some examples of used Statistic Cards for the 5 main, Buntaien characters. For this post, I’m going to go into the second version of the Character Deck, and what changes I’ve made to better facilitate future campaign playthroughs (for both the players and GM, alike).
As for the first, Statistic Card, each main character can now equip up to 10 different pieces of gear in all, of which 3 of those Slots will be exclusive to each Buntaien (using the above image as an example, Yenen can uniquely wear a neck piece, a cape, and a belt, but shares the other 7 Gear Slots with the other Buntaiens – each one can wear a head piece, chest piece, legs piece, two feet pieces, and two hand pieces). I wanted players to be able to trade Gear amongst each other, but also find special pieces for their specific character, to feel attached to their new item and accomplished in unearthing it.
Another radical change on the Statistic Cards is the bottom area – where Kay Memories were to be stored, once – a spot for players to unlock their character’s Secondary Abilities (I went back and also changed the word “Abilities” to “Main Abilities,” to signify the difference in the new new version). Being a somewhat back burner feature for “DDnD,” I didn’t expect the players from the first run through would uncover so much, so soon. So, I had to wing it and unlock special abilities for them on the fly during the campaign, of which they could be used to solve puzzles, uncover hidden items or information, to use their special Buntaien Powers in ways other than combat, and a myriad of other uses. Kind of like with the POIs on the maps, I wanted there to be spaces with the same type of question marks to cover something that they would have to reveal about themselves (or their character-selves, I suppose), again, like with the POI system. Eventually, each Buntaien will be able to unlock 5, exclusive Secondary Abilties through experimentation, teamwork, and/or specific story-based events, each with their own unique icons.
Since the Kay Memories area is now being utilized differently, I went ahead and made it its own Card, which will give players 6 different slots to fill in (eventually with personalized images for each one), for 6 different memories of the worlds they will be exploring. Once the first player unlocks the first Kay Memory in a future campaign, I may have to change the Card again, to make sure its a viable space for such a thing.
Lastly, as one can see above, the Inventory Cards and Personal Cards have not been altered (as of yet), and I feel they are suitable for their different purposes. This Character Deck concept and presentation is a work in progress, and I will keep updating them visually and structurally as needed, so keep a lookout for future versions!