18
Jan
09

#79 – “One Can’t make an Omelette..”

 



So we’re back to seeing the two familiar faces at Maestra’s Post and are poised to learn a bit more of what’s actually going on. Though through the ancient technique of hanging cliffs on walls like so many coats, the exact words will be in the coming future.

Though it should be quite apparent by now, Te’len got a rather major model revision – much the reason what delayed this particular update. Her outfit is largely the same except for minor tweaks – the skirt is designed a little differently for one. I do think her face looks somewhat different even if it uses the same texture, though I think it’s largely for the better.

Oh and I’m aware I stole a crystal from Silithus to act as stand in for the Soul gem – I couldn’t find the original one at a glance, and I do think this one looks better. And more.. well.. soul gem-ish.

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26 Responses to “#79 – “One Can’t make an Omelette..””


  1. 1 Frostsaben
    January 18, 2009 at 21:28

    Wow! Te’len looks great! I must say that from the last time we saw her in the comic, her model has improved great
    the “smash” sequence looks strange, but except for that I like this page.

    On a side note, I like the fact you made night elves to look stronger then a human male, because they are, from the scene with the throwing the crystal, Hani has no problems throwing it with one hand while Delgren has some problems with catching it with both.

    By the way, may I ask a question? Will Hani ever go to places like Feralas? I’m asking this because one of my favourite characters in lore is Shandris Feathermoon and I would love too see her one day here too :)

  2. 2 Illidan
    January 18, 2009 at 22:33

    Hahahaha, i like the way Delgren thinks, just smash it and that’s that! :D

  3. 3 scshima
    January 18, 2009 at 22:42

    A little side comment on Frostsabers remark about Shandris. Given her interactions with Tyrande in the books, and Hanis undoubted progression on her dreams about the aforementioned High Priestess, I sincerely doubt that She and Hani would get on :P

    But as for the comic, It’s looking as glorious as Ever, Nhani. My own person translation of the scene is Delgren nearly fumbles the stone as Hani throws it, which is kinda funny considering he then goes on to smash the thing anyway ^__^

  4. 4 Nhani
    January 19, 2009 at 00:48

    The “smash” pane is a tad odd, yeh – I had an idea for it, but it never really came out like I wanted. Since I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, I just let it go as it was. It’s minor enough not to mind, I thought anyhow.

    The exchange with tossing the crystal was actually “Catch.” and “oof!” in the first incarnation, but I changed it around to seem less antagonistic towards poor Delgren and more an issue on reflexes. I think it’s fairly free interpretation anyhow, however!

    As for Feralas.. I actually have a short pass by there in mind, as well as catching sight of General Feathermoon – the thing being that it won’t be until Arc Two, and most likely fairly late in it. Seeing how we’re not even halfway through Arc One so far.. well, it might just be awhile.

  5. 5 Derrael
    January 19, 2009 at 02:12

    Well, i just finished reading the comic so far. And I got to say, It’s not that good. I do like the screencapture-style, and the horrible puns Hani makes are quite funny, but her personality just seems so flat. I find it really difficult to care for a character who appears with almost no backstory. Since she can take on a large number of enemies, even a hydra, on her own, never getting even a scratch, I’m starting to think that you’re trying to establish her as the meanest mothertrucker in Kalimdor. Wich would be OK if I’d seen how she grew to be such a fine warrior, what hardships she had to owercome to gain such power. But this seems like you’re just saying: ”Ths is Hani, she’s the best warrior in Kalimdor ‘cuz I say so. Oh, and she’s emotionally deep ‘cuz she has an occasional wet dream ’bout Tyrande whisperwind”.
    Now I’m not trying to diss you, just saying that characters need personality to be interesting. I’m a dungeonmaster, I know these things.

  6. 6 Frostsaben
    January 19, 2009 at 08:16

    Ok, first I want to thank you for the reply to both of you, I must say that even though we’ll only get to see the General at the end of Arc two, it’s still better then nothing, I have patience and I’ll wait, all good things come in time :)
    I she why and Hani wouldn’t really get on, but I think things may change… or not.I like to think everything is possible;)

    Derrael, I’m sorry to say, in my opinion it’s one thing to bring a critic to something, which is very good and can help improve as long as you support it, and another thing is to be rude, I mean “wet dream”? From my point of view, Hani has a backstory, if you look through the old comics you’ll find out some things about her, from the fact that she was a sentinel to some others quite important things, but most have been hinted and not put in plain view. The fact remains that the characters in this comic are somewhat mysterious, you don’t find out everything about everyone from first page. Anyway, this is just my opinion.

  7. 7 Nhani
    January 19, 2009 at 12:47

    Actually, I think it’s fine – tone aside, I’m amazed it’s taken this long before this kind of opinion surfaced. That said, I don’t think it says anything about Hani having or lacking depth and more about whether or not it’s apparent enough.

    I think Hani’s a rather deep and rounded character, in spite of my single-line synopsis of her being “Hani is a simple woman with complex problems” (contrast this to Tinys’ being “Tiny’s a complicated woman with very simple problems”). Furthermore – I’ve had some fairly in-depth discussions about said character depth with people, so I feel quite reassured that it isn’t just my imagination. That said.. I don’t think said depth is all that apparent – which is ever a careful balance to walk. Since I know the ins and outs of my own characters, it’s hard to judge whether the hints at the underlaying depth are apparent for anyone without author-level knowledge. The line between subtle and obvious is a pretty thin one, and I’m going to be honest and say that I’m still learning how to make people notice things and still leaving them sufficiently obscure.

    As for Hani, her journey isn’t a rise to power – if it was, the entire story would’ve been laid out differently from the start. She’s another type of character – the kind that’s just naturally good at something and never really have to struggle to get really good at that thing. On the flip side, this also means that without said struggle, there’s things she should have learnt on the way that she hasn’t, and that is more the tone I try to have with her. It’s not about rise to power, it’s about coming of age.

    Trust me, I’ve studied the work of Joseph Campbell; I also know these things. ;)

    At the end of the day, I’m aware that Beyond the Tree isn’t for everyone, nor that it’s the easiest thing to just get into. And while this does raise the question of whether it might just be a tad too obfuscated, I’m not sure how widespread that perspective is, nor wether it’s something that needs to be fixed or just something to accept as “You can’t please everyone.”

  8. 8 Moltrazahn
    January 19, 2009 at 15:10

    “All that just brake it…” she allmosts sound disapointed ^^. I liked the update, at first Te’lens look allmost made me fall out of my chair. But after reading/veiwing “Delays, delays and a Te’len” I find that her update is quite pleaseing. Not main fucosing on her new tendency to show her legs, but ill say again her face has really gotten a nice dimension to it, its going to be interesting to see how much we will see of her in the following weeks/months… I would say “every party needs a healer” but then again they did solo BFD without much hardship. So i doubt that is enterly the case with our dear main cast.

    As for useing a Silithus model, i dont think it matters much. ALso if you think of it, those things did spring up all around Azeroth during the Quraj invasion, so maby its not that big of a switch.

    Very nice work, also dont worry too much about being delayed. You ARE allowed to have a life outside makeing this comic… Uhm… and the one you have in wow. So yea :P Dont stress yeself ^^ you make your updates when you make them. And trust me, they are worth waiting for :)

  9. 9 Derrael
    January 19, 2009 at 16:01

    So… She just one day picked up a sword and realized that: ”Hey, this is really easy! I bet I can kill anything I meet without any effort!”?
    Okay, okay, that’s just rude. And looking back, I’m sorry that my comment was more like a rant then a helpfull comment.
    Creating a complex and interesting character is not easy, and making the audience realize the complexity in full is even harder. I’m looking forward to see how the comic goes on from here.

  10. 10 Nhani
    January 19, 2009 at 17:44

    I’m hoping it’ll be more interesting as things develop – I’ve discussed several times with one of my lead sources for advice on Beyond the Tree and we’ve pretty much both concluded that it most likely won’t be able to realize its full potential until arc one is over – since it won’t be until then that you can trace the events back to the hints that preluded them months earlier. The twice-a-week format really is a disservice in that regard, and further imposes limits on just how much exposition you can churn down someones throat in one go.

    I mean sure, I could’ve started this story with establishing the familes of our lead duo, the events that lead them up to where they are and how that’s affected them.. but to be honest, I don’t think it’d be nearly as interesting if I had – both Hani and Tiny obviously have their issues to deal with; if I’d already told you why they have those issues then it’d be simply down to just fixing them, rather than understanding them first.

    I do admit, one of my main worries is being too subtle – a worry that spends its days walking hand in hand with one of my other main worries – being too obvious. Both main characters do have resonably fleshed out pasts (and neither is an orphan, imagine that!), but both of them also focus largely on the present.. and both have issues that have been hinted at which causes them to try to avoid thinking too much of the past. Hence why I like to bring in characters like Raene Wolfrunner and Te’len Nila – they provide links to said pasts and help express that these characters had lives before the comic started.

    As for Hani, she’s been a Sentinel, now she isn’t. She’s obviously more upset about the fact than she pretends to be, nevermind that except for Commander Raene Wolfrunner, most Sentinels seem rather disapproving of her. That much’s been given so far – it raises questions but offers no direct answers, atleast not yet. We’ll get a few more.. well.. hints, atleast, over the.. uh.. coming two months or so? Sometimes I wished the plot moved faster, but I think it’d be a disservice to it if it did!

    At the end of the day, I’m hoping it’ll be an interesting journey. I can’t promise it will be, and I can’t promise everyone will enjoy it, but I do hope enough people will find enough space to invest time in the characters and their interactions back and forth.

  11. 11 Nhani
    January 19, 2009 at 18:03

    Oh and for the record, we see Te’lens’ leg because she’s walking. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I wanted to make the first impression of her new model memorable. No, not at all. *cough*

  12. 12 Ilyara
    January 19, 2009 at 18:40

    You seem very on top of things Nhani, so I won’t add much except to say that the new skirt model is ace ^^

    WTB

  13. 13 Yerdiss
    January 20, 2009 at 01:19

    Reading the responses made me want to reply to Derael’s first comment. I’d almost have done so in a rather rude manner. (Rude? I’m an arse, I know these things). Yet then there was his second comment, which convinced me to stray from rude into the realm of hopefully helpful. Let me state first: you are entitled to your opinion. Everyones taste is different. Maybe adding my view on this to the responses makes it all a bit less black and turns it into something more… black-and-white.

    Firstly, this is a webcomic that strays from the usual web-comic style, which is a hazard. Normally, webcomics need quick, almost rushing arcs to keep their reader’s attention. Comic artists are often afraid to add too much depth to a story that is not immediately apparent to the reader; since that reader might be forgotten what the arc was all about when the depth is revealed. Webcomics are not books. Where one can read through a book in a day, webcomics take years of slow updates. Memory fades.

    Now this will make webcomics ideal for people that have a certain preference for ‘the fast life’. Even though it can be amusing (not my style, mind you) to “write the story and force it down the reader’s (or players) throat, it is not the only way to go about it. I for one prefer chapter one of a book, webcomic or RPG to ‘barely scratch the surface’ but instead ‘enrich the world’. This allows me to emerge further into the setting and associate with the starring characters on an empathic level. It does require patience, memory, empathy, individual creativity, and all such things that not everyone cares to cultivate. When you’re not force-fed the story like a baby gets its food crammed down its throat, you’re challenged to fill in the gaps with what enlightened people call ‘the thrill of anticipation’. (Oh dear, sarcasm. Sorry, I’ll try to refrain from rude again).

    To cut things short, I for one love it that this is not presented as, “Here’s your sheet, here’s the anti-hero. Here’s his background. Here’s how he got to what it is.” It allows me to ponder what happened in the background. It makes the world real, since it has a history, a past and a ‘living, evolving essence’. What you call shallow, I call untouched. It seems that when you fill in the stories history, your full creativity you’ve let loose on it yields: “She was born… and then she was uber”. I do hope there’s more to your vision than this. When I think of it, my perception yields, “Somewhere in her youth she was a Sentinel. She obviously has a past with arms, being trained in there. Yet she went prodigal (according to some) and eventually was ‘let go’. This obviously is something she’s yet to deal with, but she pushes it away. This tells us a fair bit on her psyche. It is detached, easy to push away that which is ‘bothersome’ to leave space for ‘efficiency’. She focuses on her goals and targets, usually short term, and makes her troubles go away by ignoring it. Yet her troubles quite refuse to leave so easily. Luckily, there’s Tiny – another character with lovely mysteries to ponder about – that confronts her with her character flaws. In this, we get a window to the future. A first foreboding of the path she must follow in order to get the spirits of her past not only uncovered, but dealt with. When time comes, we’ll learn more of those spirits.” And that’s only a fragment of the ponderings Hani evokes.

    I’m a storyteller, I know these things. Now please, refrain from assuming if you haven’t figured out part of the history, it is not there. And accept that even the great you can miss subtle hints. Maybe if you show patience, like you claim in your last post, you’ll be enjoying it as much as I will be, finding out that ‘you could’ve know something that’s revealed later on, since it was hinted on’. Life, my friend, is made better by letting the realm of possibilities roam free. Nothing is set in stone but the past and the best stories start with accepting that. Only when the entire tale is told, will you have all the facts. If you have fun reading it the first time, yet it makes more sense the second time you read it, I’d say what you’ve read is a very good piece of work.

    But then again, I may be full of prejudice. For Beyond the Tree is typically the kind of tale that I enjoy, told in a manner that I value. Tastes differ, as do opinions. But let’s keep it civil? I have such a hard time not replying in a like manner to a rude post (oh woe), whereas the content of such discussions is far more enjoyable when people share their thoughts pleasantly.

    Cheers.

  14. 14 Sylmarien
    January 20, 2009 at 04:16

    Love it. Absolutely love it! Derrael, I also am a dungeonmaster, comic book writer and artist for the last 15 years but please understand that to plan, write and run an AD&D campaign is completely different from writing a comic book, let alone a single-page weekly (?)webcomic! The character’s background is there, clouded and presented with a subtle manner, but there. You just missed it :).

    p.s. sorry about the linguistic horror I’ve unleashed with this post. English is not my native language…

  15. 15 Bam
    January 20, 2009 at 11:07

    Love the new Te’len model, although the skirt is perhaps too rigid – I don’t know if you’ve ever tried using cloth physic simulations but it’d look really good with something such as this. Even without animation, it can produce quite impressive results.

    Really enjoying where the story is going at the moment – The character development between Delgren and Hani is really interesting. Looking forward to seeing more inter-racial development – I’ve always thought that the Night Elf and Human interactions are the most interesting. Humans are so flawed in an obvious way, and Night Elves seem to think themselves flawless, so it leads to a lot of fun.

    Hate to join in, but:
    “I’m a dungeonmaster, I know these things.” – Just because someone writes, does not make them a good writer. Just because someone paints, doesn’t make them a good painter. Just because you’re a dungeon master, doesn’t mean you’re a good one. Judging by your spelling, grammar, and punctuation, I’d say you’ve got a bit to learn. Before you use a vocation or hobby as an example of expertise, make sure you can back it up, mate. :)

    As far as the actual points of your comment goes: What’s the fun of having a character you know the back story to? I’ll take intrigue over explanation any day.

  16. 16 Arafor
    January 20, 2009 at 11:30

    I like comics/books/stories(/drawings) that are a bit harder to melt. Makes you think, which is generally a good thing (a lot of people do too little of it). Also, it’s think kind of art that you can look at tenths of times and you’ll always find some new detail you didn’t see before or that you didn’t think about.

    I can understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea though, it’s basically the same thing writers have about being overly descriptive or being non-descriptive. Some like it when the writer have written all about how the garden looks; the violet red tulips, almost ready to blossom, the blood red roses with sweet drops hanging from their soft leaves.

    Some like it when the writer don’t tell how the garden looks, just that it’s there.

    And a few, have reached the golden line that resides in between.

    But a story is enjoyable even if the writer haven’t reached that masters line. I often find amateur work to be more interesting, actually.

  17. 17 Arafor
    January 20, 2009 at 11:36

    On an interesting side-note, Hani used to be a sentinel. The lowest level the sentinels have ever had was lvl 55 (though they are much higher now). From this we can conclude that Hani have to be at least lvl 55 and I don’t think a lvl 55 would have all that much problems in a place such as Ashenvale. ^^

  18. 18 Nhani
    January 20, 2009 at 12:49

    Early on with trying to use WoW-based 3D models – long before Beyond the Tree got started – I actually tried to use cloth simming for clothing rather than plain models; as well as experimenting with mxing to use part added model, part cloth simulation.

    In the end I gave up on it – as cool as it can be, cloth Simulation simply took too much time and caused too many headaches for me to use reliably – too much apparel that slid off the body or deformed horribly or simply looked like it too obviously was hovering above the skin rather than touching against it. Cloth simulation is great for creases and folds, but it’s also CPU-intensive, takes more time adapting it and doesn’t let you adjust things as you see fit on the spot, so I found it far too unwieldy. I might actually learn it some day, but at present I’m sooner on the lookout for other solutions (with the current one just being the latest iteration of thereof)

    For the story and setting, like said I definitely believe it isn’t for everyone – I’m not naive enough to think “everyone” is a valid target audience and I’m most certainly not aiming for that either. You need to be willing to invest sufficient time in the characters, and you ultimately need to care about the concepts and values that it builds on. The main problem might simply be that it might take awhile before people realize whether it fits them or not and while the artistic direction should hopefully keep people interested until they have, it might also suggest it’s something else entirely (just guessing, there).

    Oh and for levels, they’re a bit too much an abstract game mechanic ;). Remember Murkdeep!

  19. 19 Bam
    January 20, 2009 at 13:43

    Interesting point in regards to cloth. I’ve tried using it for capes in animated figures and it works great but I didn’t stop to consider the trouble you’d go through modifying it’s shape in a still image. Did not occur to me at all.

    As I said, the Te’Len model looks great, I’m just not too sure about how the skirt looks when the leg moves through the part – it looks as though it should be folding or deforming in some way. I realize how difficult that would be though :)

    Keep up the good work, can’t wait.

  20. 20 Nhani
    January 20, 2009 at 14:22

    I just had a whole lot of problem with it myself – it’d either look really artificially attached to something, or it’d just slide off really easilly, and the fact that you can’t just slip to a pose but have to gradually flow into it (preferably in a proper line of motion) and then allow some more time for it to settle, and have to calculate all of that.. I just found it to be a huge bother. The cloth creator thing didn’t seem like it could create a thickness to the cloth either.

    I might just not have been using it correctly, or given up too early, but I found it just this huge bother. It’s definitely something that could look great to work with – especially in animation – but I think it might even look out of place considering the low res textures and very flat model hair.

  21. 21 Derrael
    January 20, 2009 at 21:36

    yeah, Bam, english isn’t my native language, so excuse the grammar and stuff

  22. 22 Derrael
    January 20, 2009 at 22:20

    and Bam, you’re right. backstories are for losers. rocky 4,5 and 6 would have been so much better had i not seen the first three films. and the icewind-dale trilogy would have been great, but unfotunately i had read the boosk that appeared before that. combined with a main character whose personality is made out of being a killcrazy twat with penis envy, this is truly a piece of art. thanks for setting me straight, now i know better.

    …is what i was gonna say but then i realized that i was just being a troll and a douche. sometimes this kind of character developement works better, it’s subtle and keeps the reader guessing. it’s true that it’s not for everyone, me being one of those people, but like Nhani said, you can’t please everyone. in the end, out of all the wow webcomics out there(wich is a lot) this one is not half bad. i think that in my case the problem isn’t in the comic, but rather in the twat that is reading it. and since everyone is saying it: yes, te’len does look great.

    PS: Bam, i don’t wanna brag, but i will. i know that as far as dungeonmaster go, i’m pretty good. not nearly as good as the guy who first taught me DMing, but still.

    PSS: Arafor, if the sentinels are that good, then why are there still cultists and other meanies roaming around? according to what you are saying, a single sentinel could clean out darkshore and ashenvale in a week. ^^

  23. 23 Arafor
    January 21, 2009 at 10:20

    Well, technically a sentinel (at least the ones that protect Darnassus) COULD clear out Ashenvale in a week. But bots aren’t that bright. It’s basically the same as when a questgives 20 levels above you begs(!) you to do something in order to save(!) them and you’re like “why don’t YOU do it?”

    I also have a bird at the lvl of 90.

    It WAS only an interesting side-note though, not a serious comment. My point was that Hani is a trained and disciplined warrior. Ashenvale is a place where adventurous youngsters are sent. And this comic isn’t even about the seeking of power, I can’t even imagine Hani caring about power (as long as she have enough of it to do what she must).

  24. 24 Derrael
    January 21, 2009 at 15:25

    well if ashenvale is a place for unexperienced adventurers, then why do the sentinels have so much trouble keeping the epace? with the naga and such. ^^

  25. 25 Yerdiss
    January 21, 2009 at 16:34

    Lorewise, we have to make a few concessions for the benefit of balancing issues or due to technical limitations. What seems to be the case in ashenvale is that, amongst others: (1) it’s a very large area; (2) the number of hostile foes has increased significantly; (3) the number of sentinels available are less.

    I reckon that many experienced sentinels perished during the recent wars, defending the world tree. (If you’ve played that campaign-scenario, you’ll know how units were turned into cannon fodder to stop abysmally large opposing forces for ‘just long enough’). They’ve barely had time to recover and the war starts to erupt again on not one, but many fronts. Horde hostilities take up a lot of resources. Much strength must be focussed on populated areas as to keep those safe. Less is available to ‘sweep the woods or the beach’. Veterans are being called away to wage war in distant area’s, ranging from Silithus, Outland, Northrend and so on. The forces required to fight those wars are astounding.

    Now, a higher level character can ‘walk through Ashenvale squashing all resistance’ without a problem. However, the game ignores or simplifies many of the IC events such as: (1) the passing of time; travelling through Ashenvale on foot isn’t just a half an hour enterprise! (2) Amount and location of foes; mobs respawn and to avoid too boring or too dangerous areas, are spread out to make it a balanced gaming experience, (3) Character level; The game tries to emulate growth in experience by setting up a level-growth as we play. Since it’s not very funny to encounter {skull} level mobs around every corner since ‘there could be’, all off-level foes are either left out, downscaled or easily avoidable. I’d not dare assume Ashenvale is only low-level when looking at a strictly IC perspective. Via game-mechanics though, sure: a single sentinel can clear it, bar the dragon. (4) Change; Anything but quest-progression or player characters is static. Nothing changes. Of course, it would be absurd to assume that’s the case in the IC WoW environment. We are not arguing that ‘Reine can’t do all that, since she’s standing in the inn!’ either, so it seems we’ve accepted the fact that Beyond the Tree is allowed to stray from the game as we know it.

    Of course, the question posed was rhetorical and – I can only assume – a humorous attempt. But it does open up a book on what’s interesting about Beyond the Tree: it dares break these static game mechanics and opens up a live world. It challenges us to think beyond ‘WoW the Game’ while keeping the lore intact and even at times referencing quests from the game to strengthen the connection between the in-game-IC feel, and the in-comic-IC feel. On the other hand, I cannot deny the game is quite open to many a well placed pun that could start with ‘Oh, the irony…’

    Cheers

  26. 26 bamflux
    January 21, 2009 at 17:23

    I think this is where Nhani’s RP experience really comes in to help the comic. From experience, she knows how to mix game mechanics with RP elements to create a world that despite being in a game world is profoundly real in many ways.


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Essential box of legalities

Beyond the Tree is based on (when not directly using) the art resources and story setting of World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment.

That and all related and/or registered trademarks are the property of Blizzard Entertainment and Beyond the Tree claims no ownership of these or any affiliation with Blizzard Entertainment but hopes they'll have a sense of humour and appreciate it all the same ;)


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