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Descended 8:
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Rumors of my comic's discontinuation are greatly exaggerated.
by Bree

Contrary to all appearances suggesting that my comic is dead, I assure you it is very much alive. I was busy sorting out some mental health issues (along with resulting real-life fallout from said issues), thus, why my comic's been delayed. Time well-spent, though, because it allows me to focus on the future more effectively. Speaking of time well-spent, a lot of my practice has been on anatomy, and I think that when you see new pages, you'll be seeing that change in style as my art evolved exponentially in these last few months. I've found a process which is really, really cool, and fairly easy to implement. It'll be a long time before you actually see it, but when you do, you'll be impressed. Anatomy and design, both greatly improved.

 

Admittedly, could still use a fair bit of practice on perspective (though I no longer fear backgrounds nor lighting, in spite of being minimalistic in both), and also need a LOT of practice figuring out panel layouts (somewhat related to scripting, in its WIP nature), but the actual ART part of my comics (yeah, yeah, I know, panel layout is part of the art, but I think you know what I mean) is vastly improved, at the least. You might notice a change in my title, too; that's mainly because I've become more honest about who I am.

 

 

Anyway, because I didn't want this to just be another blog, have a random piece of insight into the World of Soano that I typed up today.

On Poison:

Poison has three separate attributes for how it is handled within a person: Potency, Dosage, and Type.

Potency is how deadly the poison is--in gaming terms, how much damage it does. It also deals with how difficult it is to treat. A poison of 3 gorgons is exponentially more difficult to treat than a poison of .3 gorgons. If you look on the races page, you'll see the entry on Medeans, and why gorgons are basically the measuring stick for poisons. I decided to expand (and because I didn't have access to my notes, slightly rewrite) the role of poison, starting with potency. The gorgonian scale basically means that any poison below 1 is easily treated by the standard antidote (or equivalent spells), 1 is gorgonian, and above 1 is much stronger poisons. Some treatments remain universal: stronger antivenoms can nullify stronger venoms of several types. Sleeping at an inn will cure all but the strongest of the strong poisons. And similar things. However, certain types of poison are so potent that they can only be cured by specific counters to that poison. However, that raises the question--if a more potent poison is more deadly, why aren't all poisons that strong? The answer is that potency has a drawback: the more potent, the more specialized a poison needs to be in order to have said potency against its target. Thus, at the maximum potency of 100 gorgons, a poison only works on a specific species. Anything above 25 begins to get highly specialized, and even 25 only works on humanoid species. The highest 'universal' poison is a 10. Additionally, poisons don't perfectly scale. .5 gorgons is not half as strong as 1 gorgon, just as 25 gorgons is not 25 times stronger than 1 gorgon. Meaning that extra potency doesn't add much after a certain point.

Dosage is how much of the poison is delivered/courses through the veins of the target. (In gaming terms, how quickly the poison does its damage.) Every poison (regardless of type or potency) has a maximum dosage, because there is only so many targets a specific poison will have to destroy, and past that point, the extra poison isn't doing anything but getting in the way. Thus, why often giving multiple poison attacks (even using the same poison) works, but doesn't stay effective forever--because poisons are rarely given at their maximum dosage on the first strike, yet by around three or so, have reached that maximum level. Note, however, that different types of poison do in fact stack; two different poisons will (essentially) deal twice the damage at the same lower dosage/potency.

However, as a disclaimer: surprisingly often, you'll find that the counter to one type of poison...is a different type of poison. Sometimes, they cancel each other out. Other times, one poison simply wins out over the other. In either case, it makes a lot of sense that certain things interacting with one another will end up negating one another. This is why creatures of poison are often mistakenly believed to be immune to all poisons: because their own poison just so happens to be effectively countering the would-be poisoner.

On that note, creatures are of course immune to their own poison as a general rule of thumb, but vulnerable to other types of poison--thus, why poison creatures can be poisoned and have said poison deal damage rather than, say, healing the target. Speaking of poison effects, poisons of certain types at certain dosages and potencies can inflict secondary status ailments, akin to their fire cousins of Burn and Bleed. It of course depends on the type. Negating MP, sapping max HP, decreasing mobility, draining strength, the list goes on.

 

Overall, poisons are obviously in fact not universal. However, the rules of poisons are predictable, meaning that when learned makes their handling to be fairly universal, simply by following the appropriate procedures for that situation. So, poisons are complex and diverse, but fairly simple to understand and use.

This comic has not been lost to the abyss.
by Bree

I know! Most people who actually care about this comic are long-gone, so this blog is likely to fall on deaf ears. But there's one person who DOES still care:

Me.

 

And that's all I really need in order to continue. Still, though. I figure starting my comic up every, oh, you know, half a year or so, is a good way to continuously lose readers and never gain them back. :P Ideally, I want to have people come back to my comic and stick around for it. And to do that, I need to actually UPDATE the darn thing. With my current methodology, this is a bit...impracticle. My life simply won't permit it of me. So what do I do? Give up? Wait?

...How about changing my methodology instead?

So that's exactly what I'm going to do. Instead of sketching, scanning, and digitizing each individual page, I'm going to be sketching a whole lot of pages. This approach may result in me having an occasional hiatus to sketch more pages, but I think it's incredibly promising. For any who actually ARE still reading, I ask that you stay tuned. I'm expecting results come 2014, so stick around with me just a bit longer!

It's my birthday, and I'll cry if I want to...
by Bree

Cry if I want to, cry if I want  to...

You will cry too if it's so beautiful. :P

 

So it's a bit late (sorry, guys. Didn't have anything finished earlier in the day, and was too busy later in the day thanks to my schedule) to most of you. I'm in one of the few timezones where it's still July 23rd, and even to me, it's kinda on the late side. (~9:40 PM as I type this.) Meaning by the time you actually read this blog (if you actually care to read my blogs... :P), it'll be the 24th. But that doesn't matter; I've had a birthday party celebrated two weeks late, so one or two days late on your end won't be bad. :P

 

But anyway, I put up a birthday comic. I describe it a little in the alt-text and author's comment, but what people may not realize is that on one year to this very day (and, technically, three hours ago--it was released at six), I actually went through the trouble of updating my comic. There was no cover for Arc 0 at the time. There was no "Descended 1", yet alone, "Descended 2", 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7. There was no Q&As, there was no filler. (Although, one could argue in that regard, I was originally fortunate... :P) There was only the original six sprite comics, and nothing else.

So this day holds more value to me for my webcomic than it does for me in real-life. As far as my birthday goes, it's just another number; I don't really care about my technical age (it's not my true age, anyway), so it's just another day to me when my technical age changes. It's not like I actually receive any real gifts, or have a grand party, either; there's nothing present in a birthday which makes it obvious to be a birthday--meaning, that the value I place on this day is far more focused on my comic. Because that's what keeps me going. And it was one year ago, to this very day, that I updated it. And that update sparked a series of updates continuing after that. That update marked the relaunch of The Descended, coming from an obscure dead sprite comic on indefinite hiatus to be lost in the internet void...into a respectable comic that people could actually enjoy. All from that single update.

And that comic helps to celebrate it.

...That said, I did receive some birthday presents from ComicFurians. (They're awesome that way.)

Doomy's drawing of Davos

Never before has he looked as sexy as Doomy drew him being. :P Seriously, you should go check out her work; she's a crazy-talented artist. Her main comic, Demented, is on a hiatus because releasing pages weekly is too stressful on her (and, if you pay attention to my comic, you'll realize how I know that feeling all too well), but you should still support her, so that she'll have some loyal fans when she comes off of her hiatus with a buffer. ;)

 

I also got a piece of artwork from Spitfire, showing me (as my avatar) interacting with the characters from Sandbox Drama, Spitfire's current main comic.

Spitfire's birthday present

I highly, highly recommend reading. :)

Minor changes to enhance your reading experience:
by Bree

Or detract. :P Still kinda new at the whole site design thing.

-This has been a function for quite some time, but never announced. You can navigate pages by pressing the arrow keys; left arrow will take you to the previous page, and right arrow, to the next page.

-There's now a navigation bar above the comic, so that if you forget about the arrow keys, you have yet another location where you can navigate pages from.

-There's now an extra "post a comment" button, above the author's notes, so that on rambly pages, you can skip them entirely. :P

-The archive page now has number of comments on a page attached onto it, albeit in a haphazard manner. (I was improvising.)

 

Again small changes, but worthwhile ones. Still have a ton of things on my to-do list, though. :P

Hiatus is not spelled "D e a d".
by Bree

Yes, I put The Descended on hiatus. That doesn't mean I'm not working on the comic at all. It just means I'm not working on it as much as I need to in order to continue be called an active webcomic. I'm still doing things, and in fact, have mostly drawn the sketch for the next page of the comic. But I'm also doing a bunch of other stuff. For instance:

-MatthewJA is giving me a crash course in how to code things, so that HOPEFULLY, I can make more progress in customizing the site.

-Even without his help, I've discovered a few tricks. For instance, I'm adding alt-text to as many places as I can (as an example--all the standard pages on the navigation bar you see on top should have them), though I'm still trying to figure out how to do other places (characters/about/extra/links, all of them being extra pages) and trying to do more than simple parlor tricks. (I have some buttons I want to add in, and am honing in on what must be done.)

-I've begun expanding my influence to other places. You already know about TVTropes (and how I've left there, thanks to my suspension and continued destruction of my page), but others are being used as well, visible at the bottom of the page: among them, top webcomics (a biggie), InkOutbreak, and Top100 all spring to mind. (I briefly got up to 41 at one point for there!)  Are they ideally placed, no, but see above; I'm learning about these things slowly. But there's more. I've got a shiny new twitter account, along with a corresponding tumblr. Have absolutely noooooooo clue how to USE them, mind you, but I have them all the same!

-I realized a bad habit I have when reading a webcomic I'm not familiar with: I can't remember what it's about. :P I have to check the comic profile to get what it's about, otherwise I'll often forget, have to work it out myself, and be left slightly slow to catch on. My about page as it was kinda dealt with that, but not very well. So what did I do? I updated the About page, and added bits from the Comic Profile for help. It's not perfect, but I think I like it!

 

I still have a to-do list a mile long, though. Everything from the background (that tree is kinda lame) to updating the info on the characters page and adding new art to reflect new appearances and all that. Finishing the class abilities and uploading them all, cleaning up the Setting section and finishing the worldbuilding required to complete it, and redoing the inspiration page all come to mind. Oh, and then there's also the Links page. There are a TON of absolutely beautiful comics on ComicFury. I read close to 30-40 a day (no exaggeration!), and I love them all. You'd never know it by how short my Links page is; I owe it an expansion so badly.

But I think most of all, what I need to do is to draw. That's the one piece of advice that everyone keeps saying: to get better, you need to draw, draw, draw!

 

Wish me luck on my continued endeavors!

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