pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
I got to try this game at GDC. Habitat: An Orbital Strategy Game.

After Earth fell to some kind of global catastrophe, humanity is struggling to survive on floating habitats built from space debris in orbit. It's a building game where you have to collect and cobble together space junk, attach engines, and attempt to supply your people with enough oxygen, electricity and food to survive.

It's a really unique game mechanic. It has a realistic zero-g physics simulator, so navigating around is a slightly tortuous process of firing an engine on one side of your capsule, starting to spin, firing the engine on the other side to counterbalance the spin, and carefully, through short bursts of power, controlling your navigation. You have to turn around backwards and fire the rockets in the opposite direction to stop. I like the feel of it. It moves at a slow enough pace that me and my bad reflexes, which clasically fail at most RTS games, can actually get somewhere.

I like as well the idea of scavenging and constructing a proper colony from the bits of planes, satellites, and apparently part of the head of the Statue of Liberty that humanity has left behind. (How the Statue of Liberty ended up in orbit, I have no idea...) There can be combat between one group of survivors and another, but it's completely optional, and rather than guns, it mainly involves propelling bits of debris at the other guys and trying to break their structures apart. There's an air of fragility about the junk creations that feels like a refreshing change from games where you blast the crap out of anything that moves, taking utterly unrealistic amounts of damage without slowing down.

Anyway the point of all this is that they have a Kickstarter here. They're ten days in, looking for $50k to bring the game out by next Christmas. They're developing for Mac and Linux as well as PC. Please support them if you're so inclined. I think this game could be really awesome.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
I did this sketch at the park this afternoon. I love drawing trees.

A pen and ink sketch of a tall, gnarled treetrunk with a big hole partway up where a limb fell off long ago. In the background is a row of trees of all sizes, with the lowest fronds of their canopies just visible across the top of the picture. The smallest is a tiny sapling.

Sorry about the edges being cut off. My scanner isn't very good at handling things near the spine of a sketchbook.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A young man in a vest and red pants, with three gold discs around his waist, is perched on a platform that hangs by a rope. On the jungle floor below is another man belaying the other end of the rope, and a woman sitting on a mat and sorting fruit. On the hanging platform is a big basket of fruit, and the young man is reaching for a bunch of triangle-shaped fruits above him.

Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

Thanks to Photography On The Run for the reference material.

Collecting sarfruit )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A smiling woman standing on a sunny plain with her two young children clinging to her skirt. She is carrying a baby in a sling of fine striped cloth and cradling his head as she nurses him. In the clear sky above are flying two birdlike creatures. A tree in the background has monkeylike creatures hanging from the branches, and a large lizard and a herd are also in the background.

This was a hard one.

I had to bring it together so it somehow represented both the essence of the Karnese Mother goddess, and the more ordinary scene of a nethik mother, whose people are the most pastoral of the four recognized shapes.

That's why you can see each of the four shapes in the background, even if there isn't space for much detail. The Mother protects and nurtures all shapes, and though the Grehti priests in their cosmology divide them into a hierarchy of greater and lesser shapes, those which take human form and those which don't, all of them live together in the Mother's cradle. She is the land and the magic and life force it contains.

Nethik secrets )

Anyway, some of the nethik are nomadic and others are farmers, and they've developed the most advanced farming techniques known on Karn. (Advanced being a relative term since the culture itself is neolithic.) They have a lot of skill with herbs both for medicine and for cloth dyes.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A smiling man by a campfire animatedly tells a story to a small group of people around him. The young boy listens entranced, the teenage girl looks at him coyly and the old woman has a melancholy smile. Campfire smoke curls up through the storyteller's hands and into the evening sky. Rocks shelter the camping space and the view behind the man is out over a dry valley with scrub plants.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

The Shashigai are the storytellers of Karn )

When storytelling goes wrong )

The storyteller has the power to touch people's hearts, to capture them and hold them. The real test of his character comes with what he does with them afterwards.

Who do you allow to tell your story?
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Two young kids are playing in a plumeria tree, surrounded by leaves and blossoms. The boy is swinging upside down from a branch and the androgynous-looking girl is perched in a split in the trunk. The sky is warm burnished yellow and the shape of the sun is outlined in red ochre. In the distance, through the haze, is a forest or jungle on the side of a volcano.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

The Sun card is like the Garden of Eden in reverse: the innocence that lies at the end of the adventure. In the story of the Major Arcana, the Fool has come through his troubles and confusion and found his way into a flowering garden where he's invited by a little boy to come play. When he takes the boy's hand, he realizes that the boy is a part of his own nature, the part which isn't held back by adult burdens. It's about rebirth and freedom, joy and creativity, and it implies connectedness to the environment and all the things that are waiting there to be discovered.

The person who draws the Sun card might be ready to look at things in a new light. Carrying the wisdom of their latest journey, they can bring a fresh perspective to whatever they set out to do.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A dark-haired young woman in a green tunic and furs is on hands and knees in the dirt, surrounded by seven low wooden bowls filled with water. Moving clockwise from the one behind her, the bowls contain a bow and arrow, a rock, a red and yellow snake, a thorny rose, chunks of meat, a knife, and a speckled egg.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

I had to cheat a little bit on this one, because those are Earth symbols, not Karnese ones. I didn't want there to be too much of a cultural barrier to identifying with the imagery.

About the nethik )

The Seven of Cups is about what dreams may come.

The traditional Seven of Cups )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A large gryphon-like creature with heavy folded wings perches on a rocky outcropping with its back turned. Its head is turned sideways and one baleful yellow eye is fixed on the viewer. Three swords are leaning against the rock nearby and a fourth lies on a fallen fur cloak on the ground. The dawn sun is rising over the mountains in the background.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

The Griff Place )


May. 19th, 2013 07:03 pm
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
It's been a while!

I've been studying avian anatomy and flight patterns, with an eye towards griff, one of the four Karnese shapes.

Images )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Two snarling young men in furs and leathers, both gripping the blade of the same sword in their right hands. Each one holds another sword by the hilt in his left hand. Below the sword they're fighting over is a smashed melon. Stormclouds are crowding overhead in an ominous grey sky.
Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

This is the card for broken hearts.

Simple as that. All the rest of it is pop psychology.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Pele's little sister was a badass healer. Her name was Hi'iaka. I'm reading a Hawai'ian myths and legends book we brought back from our trip. I just had to say that, because it's awesome.

Meanwhile, here is the latest tarot picture, and a story.

Two figures have just jumped off a cliff in the indigo light of evening. One is a dark-haired woman with her shoulders marked with red clay or blood and her arms stretched wide, bearing up the wings of the other figure, who is half raven and half wolf. The wolf head is twisted around and biting the leg of the woman. The raven head is cutting in its beak the thread that holds the sun in the sky. It has swallowed a little piece of the sun, which is glowing in it and the wolf's stomach.
Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

Circa 2006... )

Karn map!

Oct. 17th, 2012 09:01 pm
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
I've been playing with some new Photoshop layering techniques (new to me, anyway) and so: a map of Karn! Part of it. The part where the toren live, and the village where Daria was born. So if you're curious where to find this Teiranen place people keep talking about, here it is. Along with Daria's hometown Thumar, Celesty and Bryn's hometown Merinell, Teraf's hometown Maron, and the fabled (dreaded) Eileah.

Click for image )

Plus new icons!

A dark stone entrance made by laying a slab of stone across two other boulders, in a forest near the hills

A winding path through the mountains, leading up to a ring of standing stones with a low-roofed building nearby
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Full image - possibly disturbing? )

Preview image of ghostly hand reaching for crystal
This one is hard to write about because I think the meaning is so unique to each person, even more so than most of the cards. ('s long writeup on their interpretation.)

For me it's about obsession. I see obsession as a need which can't be filled - and by need I mean something critical enough to a person's well-being that it festers instead of fading. There's a lot of personal history here, from when I was a teenager and I had my own obsession. It's tangled up with autistic sensory integration problems, the sudden increase in social expecations, and the usual teenage struggle with awakening sexuality and isolation.

It's personified in the crystal in the picture, which on Karn is a physical manifestation of that compressed and explosive energy. I've heard it called a knot in the fabric of reality, or a black hole. It's both alluring and destructive, and the restless ghosts that are drawn to it find themselves caught in an addictive cycle. They crave the energy they sense in it, and they seize any trickle of it that they can reach, but it leaves them empty. So they come back for more and more, forgetting anything else they might have cared about, that might have anchored them to reality. It's sexual in intensity, like a drug, giving a burst of power and then abandoning you to fall and crash.

And it's different for everyone, what siren song calls you, and how its false promise manifests in your life. It might be the promise of happiness if you buy enough things, the promise of love if your body looks the right way, the promise of safety if you do and say the right things. There are as many variations as there are people.


Aug. 22nd, 2012 09:53 pm
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Jim Nightmare made me a birthday cake!

And I coloured it! )

We're at the beach for my birthday and I just had an awesome sushi dinner. When the waitress found out it was my birthday, she went and got a little cardboard box and gave it to [personal profile] shashigai and wouldn't even let me pick it up so that I couldn't guess what it was. We're back at the hotel now and I'm going to be having cake and opening presents in a little bit. We have a little plug-in oven that makes a real cake even in a hotel room, and we brought mix and an egg and a little bit of oil. It's going to be done soon....


Aug. 12th, 2012 02:02 am
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
This is Yveth from the Water Song, the book project that [personal profile] shashigai and I are working on.

You wouldn't see her like this unless you were pretty deep in the speritu world. To normal people, there wouldn't be anything but a faint glowing silhouette. If that. Even a little light can drown it out. But shift into toren form... or if you are a sperith yourself... and the silhouette solidifies into an actual being.

This isn't literally what she looks like either. Speritu take on layers of illusion, and their forms shift and warp when they're seen from different angles, so you can never be quite sure what you're looking at. When I first saw her six years ago, I thought she was drow. That didn't make sense, because it wasn't D&D and the world didn't have drow. I kept trying to figure out what she was, and at one point tried to write her out of the story completely. It didn't work - the plot didn't make sense without a couple key things she did, and substituting in a different character didn't mesh properly either. So here she is again.

The drawing )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
For when we met I saw you look beyond the when, beyond the where...

Eight circular colour studies in coloured pencil

Thinking of stained glass )


Jul. 1st, 2012 09:57 pm
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A little red firework sending up a foot-high jet of flame on a porch railing

Lots of celebration pics )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Like the other set, these are from Mary Robertson's Mandalas: 50 Hand Drawn Illustrations.

Eight circular colour studies in coloured pencil

Cut to spare your eyes )

And I'm still not caught up to the latest ones. o_O
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