#105 – “Cabin Fever (ah!)”

If I used narrative captions, this would be an excellent time for one that said something to the effect of “Time has passed..” – that said, by having Tiny say “yet another week” I can imply that it’s been a significant amount of time without giving an exact number how many days / weeks the journey actually does/should take. An exact number isn’t all that important either, so long as we’re aware of that time has in fact passed.

Of course, after all the drama-heavy character moments and development that’s taken place over the last few pages, I think it’s simply nice to be back to doing a ‘regular travel page’ for once.

Additionally, as per reader suggestion (so you can’t blame me! hah!) I added a link to vote for Beyond the Tree on top webcomics up on the sidebar – I don’t expect anything particular out of it, but I figure it might be worth a try. It’s not very large, so I might change that.. I didn’t want to make it huge and obvious at the very start since I’m kindof easing myself into the whole idea. Anyhow! TWC has this thing it calls voter incentative, which is essentially an image it shows people who vote, so I’ll figure I might try to come up with an image per week for that, if I find the time. I got some ideas for what I could put there in time, but the experiment would have to be deemed a success first I think. Still, for starting out I dug up a model I had from back before Beyond the Tree even got started of Hani Foonmall in a dress; I had plans for it back in the day, but they ultimately got scrapped as things evolved, so the model was never fully completed nor revised to current status. It was the first test I did with a poseable skirt though, and it wasn’t all wasted effort – the model for Hani having her hair down was originally made for that outfit.


32 Responses to “#105 – “Cabin Fever (ah!)””

  1. 1 Illidan
    April 26, 2009 at 17:31

    I voted even before you posted the new issue! :P

  2. 2 Tilanya
    April 26, 2009 at 17:34

    Cheeriecheer! I’m positive this time that it’s going to be a trio now for quite some time. Also, it’s nice to see the casual travel page back. Don’t take me wrong, I like the story-relevant ones at least as much, it’s just that it had been a while. :)
    I wonder how it’ll be on the other continent, all gone from the forests of Ashenvale and Darkshore… who knows if they’ll pass Lolshire, but I doubt it. Or maybe they’ll down the most epic mob ever, no one less than Hogger. Hahah.
    Anyway, I’m going to try that vote-thingy now Nhani, personally I think it’s a good idea, that. I mean, it can only attract more viewers, right? BtT deserves that, really. As I said before, there’s no webcomic that I’m addicted to as this. Always excitedly curious about the next page, which will, I think, be the arrival in Stormwind!

  3. 3 TC
    April 26, 2009 at 17:51

    dropped my vote as well, keep it up! hope you win.

  4. 4 WoWplayer
    April 26, 2009 at 20:21

    I cant wait to see whats next! really good so far

  5. 5 Illidan
    April 26, 2009 at 21:43

    TC, it’s not so much about winning – it’s about promoting, actually…

  6. 6 Yerdiss
    April 26, 2009 at 21:48

    Yay for votes! *click*

  7. 7 Elveswarrior
    April 26, 2009 at 22:44

    might just be me but i think miss nila got some pretty long fingers on the last panel XD

    oh and *click vote*

    • 8 Iasion
      April 27, 2009 at 09:45

      Ne in general have proportionally bigger hands and feet- I think it’s supposed to reflect the ‘wild nature’ that Blizz describes them as having. I could see it as good for climbing and balance.

      That, and I think the foreshortening of the perspective exaggerates the hand size a little.

  8. 9 Nhani
    April 27, 2009 at 07:30

    It’s a promoting thing and nothing more really – I’m not sure if the number of votes mentioned on the list is per day or not, but we’re essentially talking the scale of some 500+ votes needed to hit the top 100, and.. well.. several thousands to reach the top 10. xD

    Let’s just say I don’t exactly expect to be able to compete with the latter!

    You can technically vote once per ip per day; the TWC ‘regulation’s even basically say you should vote as often as possible so long as the once per ip per day limit is followed. Of course, I’m not exactly going to make any demands, and I don’t really think I have time for making more than one incentative image per week (though I do have some ideas for further down the rode I think people might like). It’s kindof an interesting experiment to see how far it might get, and if it might add some extra traffic or not. ;)

    I know what you mean, heh – variety is a good thing, and we’ve been going fairly serious ever since we reached Darnassus. As the characters are starting to accept the outcome and regaining their overall balance, there’s more space for them to be casual. I enjoy writing both ends, but too much of either can be quite heavy!

    That’s a perspective issue I think – as far as I can see/remember, the camera is really close to her hand there. I think the lack of a depth of field effect is the main reason it creates that impression ;)

  9. 10 Gollumnator
    April 27, 2009 at 07:46

    oh, the last panel is supposed to make me laugh. let’s try that now.


    am i doing it right?

  10. 11 Nhani
    April 27, 2009 at 07:58

    To be honest, I think your previous tactic was better. Not successful, but better.

  11. 12 Weertangel
    April 27, 2009 at 18:02

    Heh, another nice page,would be nice though if Hani would talk a little more, she’s so silent..
    and like the other ppl here i voted also! just to see how far u get :) besides, the fact that u are on the wow-europe site almost every friday should at least get u eneugh new viewers don’t u think?

    for the rest, keep it up! :)

  12. 13 saila
    April 28, 2009 at 12:50

    only me or is the watter an bit strange it looks like its souled as rock.
    and as the time taking well it can take an week or an month depends on the wind.
    i men if one is unlucky might end up to have to row the thing to stormwind be cos of no wind at all.
    and Te’len last line was just so great timed i was almost expecting one to say that line to Tiny and Hani sooner or later was just an question on who and when.
    and PS i hope for your sake that you make stormwind harborer crowded whit humans, dwarf and gnomes and maybe one or two high elf.
    it jsut as it is in game its just to empty.

  13. 14 Nhani
    April 28, 2009 at 13:12

    I think the water could probably have used less bump and more specular in hindsight. Plus I might’ve handled its transclucency a tad different. I’ll give it some thought.

    As for populating the harbor, I’m not quite sure how much I can do that, yet. Though I’d love to have it spawling with people everywhere, there’s a definitive limit to how much can be added, especially with the normally very tight camera angles I use. I do want it to seem like a populated city (especially in contrast to Darnassus), but I’m not entirely sure how to portray large crowds in a simple and manageable way. Yet.

  14. 15 Yerdiss
    April 28, 2009 at 15:54

    Good point, how to portrait the crowds. You probably could use an overview panel to show the crowds, and then turn to the normal panels with people passing by in the background in non-imposing manners :)

  15. 16 saila
    April 28, 2009 at 16:16

    that might work Yerdiss.
    and well some do paint human crowd as simply an large shadow.
    ah i cant remember the film but in one of the pokemon fills i think it was the first or second move when the team in the ending credits is walking in an city you see them clear whit coler the rest is just shadow thats moving.
    but the overview part might work.
    i know/ i seen an few way to do it on movies/machima but not in an comic.
    but one of the simplest way i saw in an machima was to put in AI then make them walk an given path when they reached the end they despawn and an other model would spawn using his old path over and over again. problem was that that request an engine of some sort and that we one have enough different model for the humans so that you don’t end up whit 20 guys looking exactly the same in one scene.

  16. 17 Nhani
    April 28, 2009 at 17:30

    Ultimately, there’s the problem that I don’t have a model of Stormwind available to my renderer, and excluding that I’m not sure if my computer could even handle 3ds doing lighting and shadow of the entire city at once, it’d simply be a huge amount of work just placing the right textures on the right faces.

    So to a point, it simply comes down to to what extents a rendered crowd can be put on a screenshot without it looking too faked, and to what extents I can work with a crowd of static models without it becoming unmanageable and unwieldy; or, again, fake.

    I’ve yet to decide which way might actually work best for – preferably – the least amount of added work, since the presence of a crowd won’t exactly remove the need to do everything else.

  17. 18 Elveswarrior
    April 29, 2009 at 08:31

    bit of useless? curiosity here from me. what resources does rendring require most of? WoW tend to be evil against GPU’s and RAM and somewhat gentle on the CPU but what does rendering take? a few GB RAM or 2 quad cores or whatever? :)

    also you said you didnt know if your comp could handle the rendering. might one ask what speccs your computer got? and no not ingame talents ^^

  18. 19 Nhani
    April 29, 2009 at 09:23

    The viewports (basically real-time previews of the current scene that are used while setting it up) are – to the best of my knowledge – using either Direct3D or OpenGL, but I’m not sure how optimized they are. Nevermind that there’s a significant degree of CPU and memory consumption with the models. The typical model starts with a base shape, which then has some maybe 30 slightly different copies of itself in memory and can gradually morph between multiple or all of them at once, after which it is deformed according to a series of bones where each individual point on the model can be influenced by multiple bones with different weights of influence. The end result of this is then essentially passed through a MeshSmooth modifier, the 3D version of anti-aliasing or blurring.

    All this is done by CPU and memory, in real time.

    At render time it gets ‘worse’ as the renderer essentially ditches the GPU entirely and uses brute force CPU and memory so it can do accurate raytracing calculations for things like shadows, reflections, refractions and all such things.

    For comparisson, I have something of a beast of a laptop powered by an intel Core 2 Duo T9400 and running 3 gigabytes (technically 4, but I’d have to swap to 64-bit XP or Vista to address all of it) of memory. To draw up a comparisson, the close up renders of the above page are roughly around 10 seconds of render time per render (at 1024×768 resolution). Re-enabling all the shadows and setting them to raytraced rather than the simpler Shadow map for maximum shadow accuracy knocks that up to around 15 seconds. Zooming out and watching the ship from up above puts that up to around 30 seconds. With that level of scene complexity, I can pose the models real time at maybe 5 updates per second at best.

    Now compare the size and model complexity of a single cargo ship to that of Stormwind with a full compliment of inhabitants, and you might see why I feel a bit uncertain about the idea. There’s a point where it’d simply become unwieldy even if the machine can handle it. Nevermind the time it’d take to import it to begin with!

  19. 20 Hernos
    April 29, 2009 at 12:33

    I’m sure you will find a way around this Nhani, I think I can safely say that your fan’s have every faith in you XD

  20. 21 saila
    April 29, 2009 at 12:40

    well sorce is kind to one computer whit what you get. i men sorce engeen pre calculate all the shadows may that work.
    althow it will be an long first time use for that.
    wish wow could do that.

  21. 22 Nhani
    April 29, 2009 at 13:09

    3ds is the complete opposite – it eshews any kind of optimizations or shortcuts that games can do in favour of a much greater feature set and a greater accuracy in terms of shadows, reflection, refraction and all that meaty stuff. With the right renderer it can even do localized post-processing motion blurs, depth of field and all. In some ways it’s a significant advantage, in others it’s a huge performance sink.

    Also, Saila just scored the 1000’th comment according to my statistics tally.

  22. 23 Elveswarrior
    April 29, 2009 at 13:31

    lets hope windows 7 will be worth buying then so us poor windows users can use more then 3GB RAM : / i myself also got 4gb worth of RAM but cant use it all under XP32 /sigh..

    oh and get yourself a Quad core ;P

  23. 24 Yerdiss
    April 29, 2009 at 16:56

    Hee hee, we could start a “Help Nhani to a Quadcore Laptop” fundraising! That’d surely make him feel terrible! *dances*

  24. 26 Elveswarrior
    April 29, 2009 at 20:18

    i myself got a quad core 3,0 and it laughs at everything i throw at it XD

  25. 27 Nhani
    April 29, 2009 at 20:36

    Then clearly, you’ll have to take some time to ask it to render something with a few refractions in scene. There’s a reason games generally just make glass transparent rather than refractive. xD

  26. 28 Elveswarrior
    April 29, 2009 at 21:39

    when it can run crysis in all max (which it can) then i feel like it can take on the whole world ;P

  27. 29 saila
    April 30, 2009 at 15:20

    *talking to her self* don’t post an stupid comment don’t post an stupid comment.
    bah stupid question won.
    one ask do you have an forum? fells like one is almost needed sometime.
    //PS to short and to stupid i know that and pleace don’t frown me okay.

  28. 30 Nhani
    April 30, 2009 at 16:54

    I’ve considered getting a forum for Beyond the Tree a few times, and it might be a good idea, though there’s the question of whether the interest – and populace – would be enough to sustain it. Nevermind I fear for the amount of spam one might have to moderate out of it daily!

  29. June 26, 2009 at 02:29

    I don’t know where this would fit in the whole “effort/results” trade off, but I would suggest that perhaps you can simulate large numbers by having a couple NPCs in each panel, say, one to three, but ALWAYS different.

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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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