#158 – “In the Dead of Mine”

And so we’re inside the mines proper. I really wanted to come across an atmosphere of mystery this early on – not only for the characters but especially the audience. Most of us are so very used to what to expect from the game, so I found this an interesting time to experiment with what if at some point it suddenly and randomly changed without warning – what if we can’t trust our knowledge of what should be there.

A friend of mine somewhat recently told me that I seem to enjoy meddling with the perceptions of my audience. I don’t think she’s entirely wrong..

Getting the backdrops for this page was a little more of a bother than I expected – I had the bad luck of having a stream of people twinking alts through the mines just as I wanted to get screenshots, so I kept having to sit around waiting for bodies to despawn. That said, it was a fun page to make – it had space for some unusual and interesting visuals with the group climbing down a rope.


36 Responses to “#158 – “In the Dead of Mine””

  1. 1 dékaie
    November 22, 2009 at 20:26

    yay, first coment :)

    anyway, nice spiderman entry there =D

    • 2 Gordrake Thunderhoof
      November 23, 2009 at 04:22

      Funny how you mention Spiderman…that was actually on earlier. xD

      Interesting page though. I can imagine two lines of wonder here: The characters going “What’s that noise about?” and the readers going “WTF is everyone?!” Personally I like the twist…though it would seem someone might’ve gone ahead and killed them all.

      Hmm…wonder if this was after I cleared the place…? XD

  2. 3 Udûn-Khadgar
    November 22, 2009 at 20:48

    Nice page, keep it up! Wonder how the ghoul and skeleton miners appeal to them.

  3. November 22, 2009 at 21:24

    Sexy Nelf legs! W00T!!1!!one!!!

    Hey, SOMEONE had to say it :-)

    Nice lighting and excellent poses on this one…which of course begs the question: where was Tiny during the descent???

    • 5 Synchronizor
      November 23, 2009 at 07:02

      Tiny is on Hani’s backpack on the way down, then in panels 4 & 5 she begins climbing up onto Hani’s shoulder, where she sits for the rest of the page.

  4. 6 Maira
    November 22, 2009 at 21:53

    O.o Te looks like a stripper. Pole-dancin’ Nelf!
    Looks like I was right. Everyone disappeared mysteriously.

  5. 7 Gryffyn
    November 22, 2009 at 23:01

    You have the misfortune to be trying to the deserted look in a place that normally resembles Times Square on New Years.

    Great Job.

  6. 8 Monh
    November 22, 2009 at 23:51

    The first two windows are epic ;)

  7. 9 Yerdiss
    November 23, 2009 at 09:24

    The buildup is working out nicely, I’m eager to see what happens :) Grand vote incentive, btw!

    • 10 Ilyara
      November 23, 2009 at 16:17

      The incentive is epic conflict :D !

      • November 24, 2009 at 02:54

        Oh yes, an *excellent* vote incentive. Delightful!

        • 12 Nhani
          November 24, 2009 at 06:47

          At one point in time, Arc One included the whole journey from Menethil to Stormwind – including passing through the Deeprun Tram. It ended up cut for length since the story just flowed that much better by going to Stormwind directly.

          The only thing I really regret with cutting going through the tram was loosing the scene of Tiny wrestling a Deeprun Tram rat for whatever reason. It was fun to do at least something with the idea.

  8. 13 Taly
    November 23, 2009 at 13:54

    I’m guessing that 80-90% of all males reading this wish they were that rope.

  9. 14 saila aka wester
    November 23, 2009 at 19:21

    or that 80-90 of all males readers that Tellne was turned 90 degrees to the right.
    and something complete different i do love the first 2 panels the only thing that’s missing is Hani or Tiny doing the Huu hmmm sound..

  10. 15 WoWplayer
    November 23, 2009 at 22:53

    telen gave the rope leg burn and nice suspense

  11. 16 Anarisis
    November 23, 2009 at 23:33

    Badass move on Hani’s part, and a great page as a whole.

  12. 17 Pheonixstar Silverblade
    November 24, 2009 at 00:04

    I personally can’t wait to see where this ends up. I’ve had a few ideas of where I might take it or where it may possibly lead but wont share them just yet.

    I would love to do this sort of thing for one of my uni projects, time permitting should be an interesting way to present something if that ever comes up.

    At the moment though once the assignments are in I will hopefully be doing the artwork for Gordrake’s comic idea for the horde side of things.

    I remember a while back you mentioning bringing a touch of horde to the comic and can’t wait to see how you get that done.

    Till then I’m definitely going to be taking another look at 3D studio max or lightwave 3D and play around with wow model viewer.

    Keep up the most excellent work!

    • 18 Nhani
      November 24, 2009 at 07:21

      Reaching the Horde is quite some while away, still – we’re on chapter five now and it’ll last pretty much until we’re done in the mines; after that, arc one is currently set to last until the end of chapter eight (or so) and after that.. we’ll finally get started on Arc Two which will largely touch a fair bit on the Horde (including that Mysterious Fifth Character that keeps being mentioned, he’ll show up in there somewhere).

      I find that the slow pace is both one of the major strengths and most notable weaknesses in the BtT narrative, heh.

      As for putting the World of Warcraft models through a 3D rendering studio.. I think there’s a whole lot of untapped potential there; it’s not that difficult if you know how it works with bones and morphs and all, and yet it’s quite rare to see it used. It just takes awhile to figure out where bones are best place, to get rid of the low-poly-ness of the original models and figure out how to best do facial expressions ;)

      • 19 Gordrake Thunderhoof
        November 24, 2009 at 11:58

        About time you said something, Pheo. =P

        As for the slow pace of things, you can expect that in any storyline: I mean…it’s a development of time. If table top roleplays like D&D were in real-time, it’d be frustrating to play because you have to wait when you choose to rest up, you’d have to wake other people up when it’s their turn to watch, etc. and it’d be far too frustrating. At least this way, you can keep the suspense and the fans clinging to this portion of the story until they’re fed the next one – which they consume with feral delight. That, my friend, is the sign of a brilliant comic writer.

        And yeah…as for Pheo helping out with my own ideas and such (which I mentioned AGES back now) I’m still working on a few things my end too. Got a basic title – One Sky, One Destiny (kinda taken from Kingdom Hearts, I know, but meh…it works for the storyline I intend to follow) – and got a few of the main characters in there. Currently going with the idea of several linear storylines that’ll all intertwine eventually into one complete tale. Thinking a piece of string, split apart on one end then coming together with others and making it complete. Should be interesting to see how it plays out, but we’ll see.

        …and since you’ve delighted me recently in dropping me a few hints, I’ll be glad to share some of what I got with you any time.

        • 20 Nhani
          November 24, 2009 at 19:24

          I’m not sure how much it’d apply to your case (or whether this is redundant information or not) but while I’m in ramble advice mode, it might be helpful to mention that I don’t think there’s any book that has influenced the way I approach storytelling anywhere near as much as a particular piece of non-fiction work called The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

          I’m not sure how much stock I put in the actual concept of the monomyth, but the typical Hero Journey is a well-used literary device for a good reason.

      • 21 Pheonixstar Silverblade
        November 24, 2009 at 17:49

        I think your right with that comment and I can’t wait to see who the mysterious Fifth Character might be.

        I think my biggest challenge with One Sky, One Destiny will be getting the backgrounds right though I’m sure I’ll figure it out. if you have any tips on that respect I’ll gladly accept them with open arms lol.

        • 22 Nhani
          November 24, 2009 at 18:28

          Hm. Backgrounds. Well.. while it helps to try to visualize what you’re trying to do beforehand so you know roughly which shots and angles you need.. I think the best advice I can actually offer is don’t worry so much about it.

          Yes, really.

          I’ve learned from experience that the only times that the background really matters is either when you have an establishing shot of a locale, or when your characters are directly in contact with it. If you keep largely with character shots (often like knees up or waist up) and have a fair bit of angles that go upwards and avoid showing the ground, you can actually get away with a whole lot.

          Try looking through the BtT archive with that in mind – I think you might be surprised how few shots actually directly show feet in contact with the ground ;)

          Most of the time when characters really need to interact with something physically (like Areen climbing that fence a few pages back), I actually import that object into the 3d environment so they can interact with it directly.

          Some shots you will need to show feet and then it’s basically just to bite the bullet and abuse the fact that it’s easy to move the camera around in 3d rendering suites and just keep trying until the perspective isn’t too off – it doesn’t need to be perfect, just enough that your mind won’t get caught up on it. You should be able to render ground shadows without an actual ground material by using some manner of Matte/Shadow material to recieve the shadows; like many things it’s not entirely perfect, but having a shadow there on the ground often makes the illusion seem that much more real, too.

  13. 23 Bostitch
    November 24, 2009 at 02:54

    Nice Castlevania reference :)

  14. 24 Moltrazahn
    November 24, 2009 at 07:51

    I like this page just becauss of how you have Hani’s hair and Te’s skirt follow the laws of gravity, thus not haveing them stick to the models movement :)

    … cant wait to see them shatter skellies! :P

    • 25 Nhani
      November 24, 2009 at 08:23

      It’s not perfect mind you, but yes – I like to try to emulate things like wind and gravity when appropriate. There’s only so many cases where it’s easily doable, and Hani is the only one with hair that can actually adapt like that so far – the others have more complicated hair that I’m not sure how to deal with.

      • November 24, 2009 at 12:30

        Really? I would guess that Areen’s hair, at least, is very similar to Hani’s.

        • 27 Nhani
          November 24, 2009 at 12:46

          It might look as, but in sheer topology they’re actually a fair bit different – Areen has hair that’s largely one-sided only while Hani has three out of four sides covered; not perfect, but it’s easier to get a sense of depth, even when twisting to strange angles.

          All of it really stems from the issue that while objects are generally solid in real life.. 3D graphics work largely on empty shells, so there’s only the outline of hair, rather than actual hair; meaning that there’s not really content there to drop down the way hair would.

  15. 28 Aedinn
    November 25, 2009 at 05:07

    That shot with Te’len climbing down the rope is just perfect. Graceful, beautiful and accurate gravity-wise. And I love Areen anchoring the rope. Just amazing, my fave so far.

  16. 29 monique
    November 25, 2009 at 20:39

    hi there.
    I am an absolute noob in computerwork but i think your strip is SUPER.
    Am i allowed to print every page so I have a strip that i can read as a book?
    It will cost me a lot of ink but it is worth it!
    It will be for personal use only.

    looking forward to the next pages.

    greetings from Holland.

    • 30 Nhani
      November 25, 2009 at 21:23

      You can go right ahead, really – I actually test-printed a few early pages myself on a colour laser printer just to see how they’d look; the resolution is just a wee bit too low to avoid looking pixelated on an A4-size paper, but it’s still readable – just not all that smashing levels of quality ;)

  17. 31 Udûn-Khadgar
    November 25, 2009 at 20:54

    Monique, comic might be less confusing for people from other countries. ;)
    Just a suggestion…

    Greetings back from Holland =)

  18. 32 Udûn-Khadgar
    November 25, 2009 at 20:56

    instead of the word ‘strip’ I mean. Sorry for not fitting this in one comment.
    Really, I am sorry, don’t believe me?…

    Oh, and keep up the good work once again.

  19. 33 Germ
    November 26, 2009 at 10:04

    Next time it’s totally going to be a surprise birthday party, everyone will be there. And that would be the end of the comic.

  20. September 23, 2014 at 12:45

    great read, I’ll be sharing the information

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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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