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Moar ToPComics Stuff

Humbug With the launch of ToP, it’s a good time to announce a couple of other stuff I’ve been doing for the ToPComics.

First off, for comments and feedback, I’ve created a Facebook page and forum, the latter being an app of the former. I’m too cheap to pay for an actual forum. (and it’s very likely no one will actually use it) Since almost everyone has a Facebook account, there’s no need for registering for another new forum. So it won’t hurt to test the app out. After all, it’s free and I don’t really lose anything from it, I think.

The second is a mobile version of the website. I am basically re-editing the pages for mobile purposes because when the original page gets too small the text will be impossible to read. (Unless you like scrolling vertically AND horizontally. Now, ideally, the comic should be read in its original format because the panel layout doesn’t lend itself well to a mobile format, and because of the reediting, a lot of the impact will be lost. (and I will likely be cutting out a panel or two to cut the size down)

Sure, it’s extra work, but I did notice that a a fair chunk of people visiting the website uses 480px wide resolutions, so I’d like to make reading convenient for them. No harm in trying and if it doesn’t do well I’ll just drop it. I have no idea how well it looks on tiny screens as the only mobiles I have in my household are ipads and Samsungs. So some feedback on how to improve it will be nice.

Links for easy access:

Facebook, the forum and the mobile site.

Explorer’s Journal: Day One

Ram Niv
…. My name is Ramniv. I am of an indeterminate race (I believe I can be categorised loosely as human and leave it there) and I am an explorer and cartographer of sorts by trade.

The last thing I remembered was sleeping and then waking up here…

HumbugRamniv here is part of the ToP team. His job is to figure out what makes Pylea work, its ins and outs and how it all comes together. Seriously, this guy is insane, he asks me stuff like what kind of climate Arteria has, what is it’s geographic location, and how tectonic plates can come into play, or how big Pylea actually is. (And there’s a lot more stuff he added that I really can’t recall right now. 😛 ) And I’m like Whaaaaaat? I just like to draw, what do I know about geography and all those fiddly stuff? All I wanna do is draw pretty things. *Head spins* Still, I appreciate he’s being really thorough, and it’ll actually help keep stuff in the story consistent.

Ramniv’s journals is his way of developing Pylea, and since he’s putting so much thought into it, it’s a pity to keep his stuff hidden within the team. So I thought you might enjoy looking into the background of Pylea, the stuff that will get glossed over in the comic because it’ll drag the plot down too much.

ToP Concepts: Dwarves

Unique Pylean Fantasy Race

Chris Here we’ve got a rough concept for the dwarves.

When Humbug and I were planning out the hairy little bastards I pointed out that a lot of fantasy stereotypes in races were terribly overused. Now, what do we know about dwarves?

• Short
• Stocky
• Drink a lot
• Heavy Scot’s accent
• Unusual predisposition towards confined spaces.
• Greedy and eager to accumulate gold and other precious metals.

Now, I felt that for Pylea, all its races needed to be unique and it was important that each race diverges a little from the mold.

Naturally, there are limits; after all if I had the elves digging about in the muck for gold whilst I had the dwarves sitting in the trees and casting spells you’d all be lookin’ at me funny.

People have a certain expectation of fantasy archetypes; if one follows it too closely, one is deemed unoriginal; if one diverges too far, people can’t draw the parallel.

So, one afternoon Humbug and I were looking over the dwarves and I went “hey, what if the little buggers were natural diggers? No, no, I mean they’re actually naturally evolved for digging, like moles and badgers!”

So I started shaping different claws based on tools (The pickaxe claw was probably the daftest idea), finally settling on a scoop-like trowel and encased their last three digits on each hand. We gave them a bit more of a Neanderthal-kinda lope, sloping their foreheads and adding bone growths, as well as fusing their last four toes together to make em look heavier.

Whilst their claws are excellent digging tools and defensive weapons, we imagined they developed picks and other tools to deal with denser rock and heavily armored foes. However, these little fellows aren’t just about fighting; the hardened nail on their pointers provide an additional natural tool for carving and etching, emphasizing their creative and craftsman nature.

Well, that’s about all we can say about our new dwarf species!

Stay tuned for more updates from Tales of Pylea!

ToP Concepts: Various

Barbie the Barbarian

I decided to stick 2 concept arts in one post becuase I can’t really come up with a sizable blog entry for Barbie, other than he’s a barbarian and he’s referred to as Barbie ‘coz he doesn’t have a name. Yeah. At least we’re not calling him Bob.

The Council, Old Man and Chinese Woman

HumbugArteria is the capital city of Pylea, it is governed by an oligarchy comprised of the senior members of the five houses. Marcus Lorridane and Qiang Jia Yi are two of these senior members. I won’t go into the five houses this post because someone other than me has already written a fairly in-depth piece about them which I will post in the near future.

I originally drew a straight on Qing Dynasty robe for Jia Yi, but a good friend of mine pointed out that I don’t have to include real life Chinese costumes in a fictional world and gave me references for asian inspired costumes. I’m pretty happy with the new design now as it contains both Chinese and Japanese elements in it, there’s also and a bit Korean in there if you tilt your head sideways and squint you eyes. 😛

Responsive Website

HumbugI recently found out about the wonderful code that makes images fluid, now I can finally have a responsive website layout. Years ago, I struggled with deciding what size to make my comics at. I’ve read recommendations that you should just go large anyways, because monitors are getting larger and hardly anyone uses 800 pixel wide monitors anymore. However, there are always users of that resolution, no matter how small the percentage, and I always want everyone to experience the full extent of my sites, and not have to scroll sideways.

But with fluid images, it’s now possible! My website can shrink down to a minimum of 800px wide depending on the resolution, and the comic scales accordingly, so no more of the comic filling up the entire screen or bursting out of it. Yay! I totally understand that scrolling vertically AND horizontally is extremely annoying. Just make sure your browser is up to date to make use of this amazing feature. 😛 (800px is the minimum because any smaller and the comic will likely become unreadable)

And yes, I’m aware that with mobiles and smartphones, resolution sizes have gotten even smaller! I’m actually working on a mobile version of the website, with comics specifically formatted for small screens. I don’t know how well it’ll work as there’s some phones that don’t support the most recent code, but at least I’m attempting to include mobiles. :)

As of this post LTHB is currently the only site that has a responsive layout, but I’m slowly working to bring the rest of the site up to speed, so stay tuned.