My name is Mark Marianelli, and this is Six AM Comics!

Six AM is one part portfolio, one part creative outlet, and one part network. While I understand that in a competitive field such as art, a level of segregation is required to make a living (hence the portfolio aspect), I also believe that we as creatives desire more than what's expected of us in a 9-5, we need an outlet. Cartoons have always been mine. But even outlets can become something set apart and lonely. Which is why I feel the art community needs to set aside it's competitiveness from time to time and be simply what it's called: A Community.

So hit me up and let's talk art! konami

 

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Thursday
Oct162014

Game Development Update 024 - Gazael Work in Progress

Cranking away on Gazael’s moves set, I’m happy with how she’s turning out. She’s very similar to Azriel in that they’re both sort of angelic in nature, so the challenge has been avoiding making them TOO similar. Her moves are very shiny - they range from using her halo as a blade to using her wings to create giant fists and cat-like creatures. I think she’ll be one of the more fun characters to play as.


The remaining animations are two special attacks, a throw and a finisher - and then everybody else’s finisher being performed on her. I’m indifferent to those animations, there’s something twisted about animating a woman’s death in so many variations. Pixel or no pixel, I feel a little dirty. There’s a reason there’s more male characters than females in games like this!

Ugh - I have to make her clone animations too. Good lord.

Sooner or later I’m going to have to dive back into the action script and fine-tune some of the AI. It functions, but it’s still a little buggy and on a very easy difficulty, so creating multiple difficulties each with an emphasis on different aspects of gameplay (defense/offense) is going to be a challenge. It’ll be worth it in the long run. The issue I’m having is trying to decide when I’m doing too much animation or too much coding, trying to find that balance so I don’t lose interest but at the same time trying to make progress in the most efficient manner possible. Animating isn’t the most vital part of the game at this point, but I need to do it to stay interested. It’s my dessert.

As I mentioned in my last post, I plan to have another playable demo ready soon for you to play with, as of now I’m trying to determine what should be in that demo. Same old gameplay with more characters and varying difficulty? Menu work? More backgrounds? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see now won’t we?


Hopefully by Monday I’ll have a video demo of Gazel’s gameplay. I could have made one last night, but I’d rather you see her in all her glory, not bits and pieces.

Okay then. Back to work.
~ M.

Monday
Oct132014

Game Development Update 023 - Clones & Gazael

Having 2 kids makes it difficult to get a lot done.

I keep switching between 2 different projects I’m working on. I’ve been working on a deck of playing cards for my sister-in-law and I’ve also gotten back into working on that forever unfinished Fighting Game. While the playing cards are fun to work on, the game hasn’t been that exhilarating. But I’ll provide a little update just for documentation purposes.

So with each character I create, I have to create a duplicate version of that character and all of his/her animations. This is because I have to take into consideration those times when you and the CPU have selected the same fighter. Those clone characters are nothing more than a basic color swap, but it is probably the most tedious thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s literally a pixel by pixel approach. Really it’s my own fault - I could have easily gone down the path of “make the clone slightly darker with code” and call it a day, but I wanted to give those clone fighters more of an alternate color palette to make it more visually appealing (okay, so one of them is literally a slightly darker version of the other... I was weak!). It’s the designer in me. Needless to say, it’s a pain in the butt to create, but the end product is worth it. It was also a bit of planning ahead on my part, I may want to activate some sort of alternate costume down the road, we’ll see about that though.

I could very well decide to create ALL the characters and then do the clones when I’m all finished, but I like to make sure each fighter is as complete as possible before I move on because knowing me, I’ll just forget to do it later.

So all four designed fighters have clones now, and I can begin work on a new challenger! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: GAZAEL.

With that, I’ve got nothing else to show at this time. I’m hoping once I finish her animations I can work on getting another demo ready for your amusement with some additional features to play around with (difficulty settings, etc).

Until then,
~ M.

Monday
Sep082014

LEGO: Missed Opportunities

I'm such a sucker for Lego. Like in a big bad way.

As I've already mentioned, I've had my face buried in my tv playing Lego Marvel Superheroes - Not the manliest game, but something about that entire franchise tickles me. I was never very good with Legos growing up, but I always had them, always bought the little mini spaceship sets... And inevitably always popped the spacemen's heads off in glorious battle with my Batman figures. I was a sick child - and come on, we all know Batman doesn't kill. But then, I grew up with Tim Burton's Batman, so as far as I was concerned he was a stone-cold KILLA'!

I'm all over the place right now. Getting nostalgic.

Back to the Lego games. I've been a fan ever since the first Lego Star Wars game. I still don't know what compelled me to buy it, I must have just been hankering for a good Star Wars game. Whatever the reason, it was a GOOD decision. There's a joy that comes with the simplicity of the franchise, it doesn't take itself too seriously and it's aimed at kids, so it's easy to pick up and learn. I'm that guy that gets ripping mad at difficult video games, I'm not the guy that throws controllers at the wall though - too expensive. But you better believe I'll curse that controller out! It comes with being a casual gamer, you're never good enough to dominate most games without cheats, but you still want to keep playing despite the rising difficulty as you progress. Thank GOD for Lego - No matter how far along you get, it's always beatable, and they never punish you for sucking with Game Overs and continues that make you start the level over. You just play and die and keep playing until you beat it. No penalties, just fun. And the unlockable content (which is the stuff I LOVE about most games) flows like milk and honey.

They tackle a plethora (love that word) of franchises, but I can't help but think they've missed a few golden opportunities... These were just a few I had in mind that I think Lego needs to get on board with:

 

LEGO: SPAWN

Comic books are huge right now and Lego has only begun to tap into the unlimited potential that lies within the comic kingdom. Personally I think they took the easy way out. Everybody is jumping on the Marvel/DC bandwagon but where's the love for IMAGE? Look, caped Crusaders and mutants are great, but what the kids REALLY want are HELLSPAWNS. I think Lego is the perfect platform to tell the story of an assassin who's soul has been tainted with the death of innocents and dies a horrible, burning death only to be resurrected as a solider for hell.

Let me put it this way: Lego chains, Lego flames & scantly clad Lego dames.

3 things that not only rhyme but also make kids go crazy with excitement! And if that's not enough, there's even a clown! ... A homicidal clown who's not actually a clown but a vicious, evil demon named the Violator who disguises himself as a fat homeless clown to make sure old Spawny stays on the path to EEEVIL. Look, the devil's in the details (no pun intended), but EVERYTHING is adorable when you give it that Lego charm that's just oh so marketable!

 

LEGO: MORTAL KOMBAT

The only shameful thing about Lego Mortal Kombat is that it hasn't been created yet!

I don't know how else to put this - Lego Men were MADE to be dismembered. Who hasn't popped the head off of a Lego spaceman? If ever there was a franchise that SCREAMED Lego makeover, it's Mortal Kombat.

Let's put aside the obvious greatness of the concept and look at it from a financial standpoint - It'd be the cheapest game Lego ever created. Half the characters are color swaps of each other and the original Mortal Kombat games used motion capture with REAL actors to create the fighters; so all you'd have to do is grab a couple Ninjago toys, a bag full of red Lego studs and a camera and you've got your game! Come on, Lego, you might as well just print your own money here!

You know what? Forget it. If Lego's not going to make this game, I'M just gonna' go ahead and make it myself. YOU KNOW I CAN DO IT! Don't test me, Lego... Don't. Test me.

 

LEGO: DOOM

There's no denying that First Person Shooters are just about the most dominant genre in the console world. Call of Duty, Battlefield, Resistance, Bioshock, Fallout, Crysis, Borderlands, Killzone... It's only fitting that Lego get a piece of that FPS pie, and I know just the franchise to get their foot in the door with - A little game known as DOOM! The Godfather of FPS.

Imagine if you will - You're a marine. You're stationed on Mars, suddenly a portal rips open and the forces of hell assault your space-station; possessing and killing everybody in sight. Imps, Demons, Zombies, Lost Souls, Cyberdemons - All presented in glorious Lego format!

Lego's prime trademark if any has always been Space - Spacemen, Spaceships, Space stations, ray guns and oxygen packs - why not throw a little taste of Hell in their while you're at it! How is that not a gold mine??

If you don't think it's scary enough to hold the DOOM name, try this: Your kid just got done playing this game for 10 hours straight, it's 1am and he just realized he has to go to sleep in a room FILLED with Legos... Don't tell me he's not going to sleep with the lights on. Any game that can make children terrified of Legos is a game worth pursuing.

 

LEGO: AMERICAN PSYCHO

Yeah, they probably shouldn't make this game.

...

Like ever.

Well on that note,
~ M.