Tag Archives: monster

LET’S PLAY – Until Dawn

With my Unravel Let’s Play now over I have moved onto a horror game I have been excited to play, Until Dawn. To view the first two episodes of this series you can check out Twisted Tales Studio’s Youtube Channel.

Until-Dawn-02

Until Dawn is a cinematic survival horror video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Entertainment. This game is a PS4 exclusive which was released in August of 2014.

One year after the disappearance of twins Hannah and Beth, a group of eight teenagers return to the ski lodge on Blackwood Mountain. The group is faced with a life-or-death situation when a psychopath begins to terrorize them, and unfortunately for them that is not the only thing they have to worry about. Something strange is happening in the woods, and not everything is as it seems. Can all eight survive until dawn?

I always say that I am particularly attracted to games that have a heavy emphasis on storytelling. Until Dawn is an example of this principal put into overdrive. In Until Dawn actual game play mechanics take a backseat to story. To say this game is cut scene heavy would be an understatement. In the two episodes of my Let’s Play, which are about twenty minutes each, maybe half of the run time is the actual game play. The player can only effect the outcome of the story through a series of choices, quick time events, and exploration in short linear environments. Success in the game depends on making the correct choices in each situation and uncovering clues to the mystery behind the twin’s disappearance.

With the opportunity for player interaction so drastically downplayed, Until Dawn relies heavily on its story and atmosphere. This is where the game shines. The animation is top tier for a new generation console game and it contains some memorable music to set the mood. I have only played the introduction, and I have not yet gotten to the aforementioned ski lodge, but I am already blown away by the environments. I have high expectations for the set pieces I have yet to see.

I say this in the video, but I work in film, and I love horror, so I may actually be the ideal audience for this game. I cannot wait to actually get into the meat of the story.

Cheers,

Starchip13

LET’S PLAY Alien Isolation

Twisted Tales Presents:

Let’s Play Alien Isolation

It is a new month and that means a it’s time for a new Let’s Play. I have been a fan of the Alien franchise ever since I was far too young to be allowed to watch them. When I found the game Alien Isolation at the store a couple of weeks ago I knew that this game would be the perfect fit for my channel.

For the first two episodes of Let’s Play Alien Isolation visit my Youtube Channel!

alien-isolation

For those of you who are not familiar with this game, Alien Isolation is a survival horror video game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. It is playable on PC, Xbox and Playstation platforms.

As the name would suggest, Alien Isolation is set in the world of Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and it’s subsequent sequels. The story of this game occurs between Alien and Aliens; approximately fifteen years after the end of the original movie.

The main protagonist is Amanda Ripley, henceforth known in my Let’s Play as Little Ripley, who is the daughter of movie protagonist Ellen Ripley. Determined to find closure on the disappearance of her motherLittle Ripley is approached by a representative from the Wayland-Yutani Corporation when the flight recorder from the Nostromo is discovered. Little Ripley travels to Sevastopol station to investigate only to find the station damaged and no sign of the crew. The few scattered survivors claim there is a monster on board killing the crew. If that were not bad enough, the stations androids, a force of Working Joe’s, have also turned on the crew.

Can Little Ripley make it safely back to her ship the Torrens and discover what really happened to the crew of the Nostromo?

Alien Isolation focuses mainly on the survival horror aspect of the original series. The alien is the perfect hunter, and Little Ripley is definitely not a Colonial Marine. Huge emphasis is put on hiding or running away because if that monster finds out where you are … well let’s just say it does not end well for Little Ripley.

A feature of the alien enemy worth noting, as I will likely fall prey to it a few hundred times, is the AI. This game has gained some notoriety for the fact that there are no pre-scripted paths for the alien. The most terrifying enemy in the game travels the environment in a randomized pattern. Crossing paths with it in one place does not mean a repeat performance when the game reloads. Now that is terrifying.

Another exciting addition to this game is the use of the Kinect peripheral. Linking the tracking of the Kinect allows the player to peak around corners and turn the camera while hiding from enemies. The microphone will also tip off the aliens if they player makes too much noise. Unfortunately, for the purposes of my let’s play I will not be using the Kinect because A) I do not own a Xbox One version of the Kinect and B) I need to be able to talk during a let’s play. If I happen to get my hands on an Xbox One Kinect I might do a separate mini-series with this function on. In that event I will give my two cents on this feature.

Stay tuned on a post-game review once I have played this game beginning to end.

For the official Alien Isolation website click HERE.

Cheers,

Starchip13

 

LET’S PLAY – Alan Wake

An isolated mountain town, an mystery author with writer’s block, and an unspeakable evil darkness infecting the forest. Sounds like a recipe for a fun Friday night.

So i decided to put my money where my mouth is and actually record myself playing video games before I review them. For my first video I am starting with a game I bought around the time it was released, but never got around to finishing.

After about a week of trying to fix technical difficulties at every turn, here it is! My first ever posted let’s play! There were still a few hiccups such as my facecam cutting out at a couple points, but I think I fixed the problem now, so it should not be a problem in future videos.

Let me know what you guys think, and any pointers you might have. I am very new at this and I know I need to work on being a bit more vocal, but overall I am happy with this first attempt.

I will have part 2 out soon hopefully now that I know how to set up my workflow for these projects.

Starchip13

Stabbing Things with Needles

 

Sometimes all a girl needs is a barbed needle and a video camera.

Welcome to Twisted Tales Studio’s first project video of the year! As promised I have been working on a needle felting project. It is a little belated due to some technical issues, but it is finally DONE.

Not gonna lie, at one point in this video I stab myself full force with the needle, and it was about as pleasant as one would expect. It’s not a successful craft project until you screw up and draw blood, now is it?

Up next I was thinking of maybe doing one of the skeleton and muscle diagrams as a project. Thoughts?

Starchip13

The Science of Cute and Creepy

Happy February first everyone! I will be participating in blogging 201 this month, so let’s get started shall we? This challenge is “what is my angle?” so I decided to take the theme a little bit literal.

The question of the day is: what makes something cute vs. creepy. The short answer is that it is all in the angles.

Cute Curves Vs. Harsh Angles

mushrooms
Using Fungus Fairies as an Example…

Let us take a look at the ultimate example of cuteness: babies. What makes infants so darn cute? The secret is in the circles. From their big round eyes to their stumpy little legs, babies and infants are made up almost entirely of circles and curves. Subconsciously in our minds, particularly in women, we associate soft lines with babies. This means that any product or design that has proportions similar to an infant is perceived as “cute”. A lot of cartoons, particularly chibis, use these proportions.

Another instance of the use of curves is when it is meant to reference the female form. The curve of the breasts and hips are used as inspiration for products ranging from cars to cell phones. Anything meant to be “sexy” is typically slim in design with few sharp angles.

mushrooms
Changing lines ages the little fungus friend…

On the other end of the spectrum characters who are meant to be evil or creepy are designed with rougher edges in mind. Good examples of this principal are seen in pretty much every Tim Burton movie where he uses strange proportions, pointy faces and spindly limbs to purposely make his characters creepy. You’ll also notice that villainous characters are either unusually thin or have overemphasized masculine traits.

Simple Symmetry Vs. Just off Center 

moresketches
This guy looks like a proper gentleman

There is a basic formula for the proportions we find attractive in another human being. A symmetrical face is usually a sign of favorable genes and good health. While few faces are truly symmetrical, characters or creatures that are meant to be “good” will often have perfectly symmetrical designs.

moresketches
This guy will probably eat your face

Traditionally a face with glaringly obvious asymmetry is a sign of injury or disease. Back in the other corner with our friend Mister Burton, his designs are rarely symmetrical. Putting the nose slightly off center or making the eyes two different sizes can vastly change the look of a character. High levels of asymmetry can invoke feelings of fear or distrust, even if there is no actual danger.

Warm and Welcoming Vs. Green and Ghastly

sketches
This guy is colour coded to be a hero

This one is pretty obvious. Warm colours are associated with light and flowers and all those good things. Heroic characters will usually be associated with a warm primary colours (go Gryffindor!).

sketches
According to Disney this guy is probably a villain

Dark and cool colours, particularly green (Slytherin), are associated with villainous characters. Green has a dual association with plant life or with sickness. Disney has abused the heck out of the colour green to represent their villains. Black, the western colour of mourning, is also paired with villains.

The Uncanny Valley

sketches
Wall-E doesn’t look very human but is super adorable

Sometimes animated characters and non-human objects are given a few human characteristics. This is done mainly for the purposes of animated movies to give characters expressions and to tell a story. A staple of this principal is giving robots big expressive eyes and eyebrows. A good example of this is Brave Little Toaster or Wall-E.

sketches
Put human eyes in a metal skull and you have a murder machine

The uncanny valley is when an animated character or non-human object is given enough human characteristics to no longer be “cute” but is not accurate enough to be considered “realistic”. The result is something rather unsettling. This can be used intentionally like in Terminator when poor Arnold’s face is slowly being peeled away to reveal a machine, but the eyes remain more or less intact. Or it can be completely unintentional like when animation intended to look realistic ends up looking like a melted Barbie Doll.

Now these rules are obviously not the be-all-end-all character design traits in every story. There are plenty of stories that intentionally break these rules, either to better serve the story, or to raise tension. It is fun to play around with proportions and see what kind of personality a character can adopt.

Starchip13

Stabbing Things with Barbed Needles

…Otherwise known as needle felting.

IMG_0367

For those not familiar with the craft, it is the art of stabbing various coloured wool with a barbed needle for hours on end. It is actually quite therapeutic after a bad day. Right up until the point when you stab yourself in the hand hard enough to draw blood. That may or may not have happened once in the making of this project already, but a teacher of mine once told me a project is not real until you bleed on it. That’s the rule.

I got into needle felting while in college when one of my textiles classmates literally blew my mind with a super adorable needle felt dragon in a tiny bird’s nest. I ended up making a ton of fun things a few years ago, including an shenani-goat for my D&D group (yes I do that too). Since then though I have seriously let it fall by the wayside and all of my rather expensive needle felting wool has been living in a tote under my bed.  IMG_0368

For my first video of the year has been seriously belated thus far and I was hoping to finish filming today, but a combination of my camera battery dying and losing the good natural light in my house has put it on hold for the night. I shall continue tomorrow with daylight and fresh batteries.

I hope to have this video up sometime early this week. Until then, here are some selfies with a white felted worm-looking-thing.

Starchip13

Fan Expo Monster Suit

Twisted Tales Studio Presents:

Monster Suit Fan Expo 2014

This is a bit of a throwback from when I was still in school but I am now finally properly set up for video editing. So, better late than never, here is an actual video of our monster suit actually walking around at Fan Expo 2014.

This video was just an opportunity to actually practice cutting footage together on my computer. The video and sound quality are poor because it was shot on my iphone in the middle of the convention center. Even at the best of times, this was not an ideal space to record anything. At one point I was actually sitting on the table of the booth directly across from us, so thank you to the boys selling Doctor Who merch. You were super sweet for helping me!

The actor in our suit is the husband of my teacher, Fred, who did an amazing job! There are very few people who would put up wearing all the fur, while walking on stilts, in the middle of an insanely crowded convention center. Also, at one point the fan for the cooling unit shorted out, so the poor guy was sweating buckets under all there.

Also featured in this video are two of my teachers helping our actor get into the costume and on his feet. A few of my classmates can also be seen in the background acting as human pylons so nobody accidentally bumped into the stilts.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. Our group had the opportunity to get into the con in exchange for working at the booth and promoting the school. I was able to make my rounds of all the vendors, as well as get a photo op with one of my favourite horror franchise actors!

Fan Expo 2014 will forever be my favourite year!

Starchip13

Its a Very Scary Christmas: Krampus

Krampus (2015)

I will be the first to admit that I am more of a Halloween kind of girl than a Christmas enthusiast. I could even go so far as to say the only Christmas-ee movie I actually like is The Nightmare Before Christmas, and that is a 50/50 split on holidays at best. I have to say though, I like the lineup of new Christmas movies this year.

I’m sure by now everyone has seen the trailer for Krampus, which as of this post is coming out tomorrow (December 4th, 2015), and you bet I am going to be first in line to see it. This is the kind of Christmas spirit I can really get behind.

I mean, with a murderous Christmas demon how can this be anything but amazing? Sure, whether or not it will be a good movie over all is unknown, but I expect I will be thoroughly entertained.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the lore behind the Krampus the story goes a little like this:

Often considered the counterpart to Santa Claus … the Anti-Claus if you will *ahem* … the Krampus is a German tale about a demonic creature who dispensed coal to naughty children on the night of December 5th. Some stories even tell of Krampus leaving sticks or canes for the parents to use on their misbehaving children.

The Krampus is also referred to as the yule goat for obvious reasons. Most often he is depicted as a large hairy creature with horns, a tail and the hind legs of a goat.

Naturally, I am particularly interested in seeing the creature design for Krampus in this movie. From the trailer it looks as though he is going to be mainly practical effects, which is a nice break from the CG fest most movies have become. Give me a flesh and latex goat-demon for Christmas anytime!

But wait … there is more. 

The new Krampus movie had me all nostalgic for the Christmas horror movies of old. As I was scouring youtube for trailers from Black Christmas and Santa Slays I came across a movie called A Christmas Horror Story which actually also just came out this year.

Oh my word is it ever glorious.

Wow, Santa really came through for me this year. Not one Krampus themed horror movies, but two? I guess Christmas wishes really do come true.

Reasons why I need to find this movie and watch it:

  1. Krampus looks bad-ass
  2. Santa looks bad-ass
  3. Zombie elves
  4. William Schatner
  5. Promise of an epic one-on-one battle between Santa and Krampus

This film had a limited theatrical release around Halloween and is actually already available on DVD. It also has a 75% on rotten tomatoes, which is surprising for a holiday themed horror movie. The only major complaint I am seeing is the use of four separate story lines to form the narrative, which I can live with so long as it is tied together in a creative way.

At least now I have something interesting to watch while I scramble to finish my last minute Christmas gifts like a mad woman. I think the next order of business is to find as many Krampus themed alcoholic cocktail recipes as humanly possible.

Starchip13

November 2014 Featured Artist: Mythic Articulations

Featured Artist: Mythic Articulations

Jackalope by Mythic Creations
Jackalope by Mythic Creations
Website: Link
Etsy: Link
Facebook: Link
Twitter: Link
Tumblr: Link

My second featured artist for November I found while clicking around on etsy. Naturally, I spend my time looking up skeletons and mythical creatures, which took me to the Mythic Articulations shop.

Opened in 2013, the goal of mythic articulations is to create what nature won’t. Mythic articulations offers a variety of skeletons and skulls of all of the mythic creatures you could ever think of … and maybe some you have not.

With technology growing and becoming accessible there are new opportunities for makers to create things that would be impossible or impractical to make with traditional methods. The skeletons of Mythic Articulations are created with a 3D modeling program, which is then made into the final product with a 3D printer. Like traditional methods, this process is meticulous and time consuming in its own way, but the results are stunning. Check out the product for yourself.

Obviously one of the biggest advantages of 3D printing technology is that Mythic Articulations artists can create one digital “master” with incredibly small and fine pieces. Some of the items in this shop contain some crazy intricate detail. I am a huge fan of the 3D tribal skull!

For those interested in one of these pieces please visit the Mythic Articulations Etsy store. Please ensure that you order before the end of November if this is to be a Christmas gift … if you have someone in your life like me who would love a skeleton for Christmas. That is normal right? Skeletons are cool.

If anyone has a suggestion for the next featured artist please feel free to comment.

Cheers,

Starchip13

Featured Artist: J Shook

November 2014 Featured Artist: J Shook (B00ts)

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheDenTree
Tumblr: http://maskshop.tumblr.com/
Deviantart: http://b00ts.deviantart.com/
Asmodee by b00ts
Asmodee by b00ts

Welcome everyone to my very first featured artist section! As most of my readers can guess I love monsters and I love all things hand made. November’s first featured artist just so happens to fall into both of these categories.

Anybody who appreciates soft sculpture and craft will be drawn to these little monsters. I first stumbled across these cute little dolls on Deviantart.com under the screen name B00ts and I was instantly in love! Also, bonus points for the use of sculpy to make horns and embroidery detailing that gives them their personality.

J Shook (or B00ts) is also active on Tumblr and has an etsy shop where her patterns are available for purchase. Of course, I encourage anyone who enjoys sewing and doll making to check out her shop and make something of their own to add to the great online art community. Please give credit where credit is due! If you use these patterns please credit the artist! I know she would also love to see what everyone is making with her patterns, so pass along a quick picture to her tumblr or DA.

These types of dolls are accessible to all skill levels. Felt is an easy type of fabric to sew and work. Dolls can range from exceedingly simple to elaborate and complicated (see B00ts for examples of the latter). Add add as much or as little detail as you want, and make it your own.

Private commissions are also available, but do keep in mind that one-off dolls take a lot of time and energy, which means they are not cheap! An artist also has to be paid for their efforts, so keep this in mind when considering a commission. Please see her FAQ page for more information.