#248 – “Once More into the Dream”

Hani’s dreams, while interesting to, are often difficult to write – they can’t just happen for their own sake, they need to have some sort of thought behind them, some degree of continuity with Hani herself. As a result, while I knew I wanted a dream scene somewhere during the cart ride, for a long time I couldn’t quite decide where or what exactly to do with it, and it almost didn’t happen. Then I came up with this idea, and somehow ended up in a situation where I had an excuse to utilize just about every recently updated model in a single page.

This particular model overhaul is one I’ve been working on for some time – it’s not entirely done yet either; Tiny still needs a model update (though with her size, she can hopefully get away with not having one for awhile) and though not part of it per se, I sort of want to go back to Areen and see what I can improve there. While there’s a fair bit I’ve been tweaking for this model update, the key thing is faces, with the key-key thing being eyes – I’m doing them in a different way. In theory there’s more space for expressions with the update – in practice, it’ll take me awhile to get familiar enough with them to figure out how to make the most use out of it. It also means that when we start seeing older or non-poseable night elven models around again.. there’s going to be an even greater visual difference between those and the up to date models.. but, well. Little that can be done about that, so we’ll just see how that turns out when we get there.


35 Responses to “#248 – “Once More into the Dream””

  1. 1 Elnória
    January 30, 2011 at 01:39

    A good place for model updating, I like many things about this page. First of all, of course, the eyes; if anyone said they were going to look really, really neat and glowing and shiny, then they were so very correct. I was also fond of the lighting in the dream and the appearance of VanCleef’s memory; I could not help but to smile at the fact that even as a goner, that admirably stubborn bloke’s grip is still tight. Must be tough for our poor Foonmall to have all those voices poking her mind.

    Looking forward to see where this is all heading, and hope you’ll get comfy with the models soon enough. Keep it up! :-)

    • 2 Nhani
      January 30, 2011 at 10:10

      I always wanted VanCleef to strike a chord with Hani somewhere – because I felt that in the context of young Foonmall he represents something very particular.. and in retrospect, it struck me that I hadn’t really made it clear that it was something that’d gotten to her beyond making her angry at the time.

      So, I felt that having him speak beyond the grave here was a good way to amend that.

  2. 3 LolDrood
    January 30, 2011 at 03:08

    I”m starting to think Hani got Section 8’d out of the Sentinels. Remember, when you talk to your gods, you’re religious; when the gods talk back, you’re schizophrenic.

    Let us celebrate the ascension of the new models with ‘Smooth Criminal’ on cellos

    Anyone need a little neon sand shovel?

    • 4 TgrHwke
      January 30, 2011 at 09:53

      The cello video was cool. Thank you for the that link. :)

    • 5 Nhani
      January 30, 2011 at 10:13

      While I hesitate to give her any particular diagnosis, I think we can all agree that young Foonmall may not exactly be a shining paragon of mental health.

      Also, these cellos are awesome and I approve of them.

  3. 6 megafire
    January 30, 2011 at 05:38

    I luv ur comics! keep up the good work

  4. 7 Agimam
    January 30, 2011 at 07:44

    I do wonder why Raene wears her uld armro, though.

    • 8 Synchronizor
      January 30, 2011 at 07:48

      It’s not fully shown, but I’m pretty sure Raene’s wearing a whole new set of armor. Check out the new voting incentive image.

    • 9 Nhani
      January 30, 2011 at 09:36

      I liked the previous armor design, make no mistake, but it also gave me the impression that there really wasn’t enough people who made a casual connection to it and what it was supposed to represent. It really came across like it just wasn’t “sentinel” enough for most people, which essentially means that the design failed in what it was supposed to accomplish.

      Part of the big goal with this particular revision of Raene’s model was in fact to take a step back towards the in-game appearance, but still have it individualized enough to set her apart and feel like it matches the personality she’s grown into.

      She actually did get to keep the right hand glove, though.

  5. 10 Agimam
    January 30, 2011 at 07:45

    Bah, spelling errors..

  6. 11 Synchronizor
    January 30, 2011 at 07:47

    Let’s see…

    New Tyrande, Raene, and Dagri models are obvious. Te’len seems to have part of her new model, judging by her clothes, but she doesn’t have her new jewelery yet (or her iPhone). I think I might have a guess as to how she’ll spend her share of the reward money in Stormwind.

    As for Hani, I can’t really tell, her V4 to V5 changes seem to be more subtle.

    It all looks excellent, though. Keep up the good work.

    • 12 Nhani
      January 30, 2011 at 09:42

      I didn’t want too obvious clothing additions to just “pop into place” – some things like Te’len’s pouch, Hani’s waist belt and such you can sort of imagine was implied to have always been there (Te’len did have some kind of sack or pouch thing in her very first model, after all). All the jewelry though? Seeing how it was never shown, never referenced.. and how we had the whole “how are we going to afford food?” angle without anyone (meaning Rei, obviously) going “Well we could sell your stuff.”.. it felt like it really should be something they’d aquire, rather than something that’d just randomly appear.

      Still deciding on whether to keep Hani’s old boots or go for the new ones. Thankfully, the way the model is designed, I do have that choice.

  7. 13 Fokker
    January 30, 2011 at 10:46

    Oh my god. Updated Dagri! :D

    • 14 Nhani
      January 30, 2011 at 11:09

      Honestly, this is one (of several) reasons why the updated Raene model took so long – I really felt that with a new poseable Raene, I really needed a poseable Dagri to go with her – especially since I’ve kind of underrepresented him a lot in the past.

      Still, he’s got a poseable model now – it’s not very complex, but he can look in various directions, throw a few expressions and a few poses and all.. it’s a bit inhibited by the fact that I’m not very familiar with canine skeletons.. nor body language, really. I actually don’t like dogs much, so there’s a risk of him becoming overly cartoony as a result.

      • 15 Arafor
        January 30, 2011 at 21:29

        Since you make series your goal isn’t necessarily to reach the unreachable realism, but to get a point across, slightly toony expressions isn’t really that big of a deal.

      • 16 Synchronizor
        January 31, 2011 at 00:03

        Dagri looks great,

      • 17 Synchronizor
        January 31, 2011 at 00:07

        HTML fail, meant to finish with:

        but what about Korra?

        • 18 Nhani
          January 31, 2011 at 08:27

          Interestingly, while Dagri is specifically marked as Raene’s pet, Korra never had such distinction (and goes about napping in several places beyond just near Raene).

          So I’ve been rather content to treat Korra as more an Astranaar mascot and have Dagri as Raene’s personal petfriend. Plus, Raene dragging two supporting characters around dilutes the importance of either one, so it’s simply narratively stronger with just Dagri.

  8. 19 Bleeters
    January 30, 2011 at 13:50

    Unless my eyes decieve me, Te’len seems to have, shall we say, expanded as a character recently.

    *makes a cupping gesture at chest height*

    • 20 Synchronizor
      January 31, 2011 at 00:17

      I think that’s just due to her pose, jerking her head and upper body back as Hani suddenly wakes.

      • 21 Nhani
        January 31, 2011 at 08:45

        It’s a combination of factors really, pose plays into it, but also shape and the matter that her tunic has expanded – it’s further from her skin to reduce clipping issues.

        For pure topology her cup size actually hasn’t changed that much. There’s a few various factors that can contribute to the illusion that it has, however.

  9. 22 Tankesenior
    January 30, 2011 at 14:33

    Nice page as always, man I’ll always keep loving VanCleef :D. This is just the response to his death as I’ve always imagined him.

    Also I love the new models though I think Tyrande looks a tad weird.

  10. 23 Frostsaben
    January 30, 2011 at 21:00

    Well I must say that Tyrande’s new model looks great. Although I still don’t really agree of your choice of a long dress over a shorter one or armor, I do love the face. I don’t know if you wrote something about Tyrande’s dress and why in the end you chose that, if you did my apologizes but since I’m quite busy in this time I can’t stop to read all the interesting stuff I see all over the internet :( I will read what you wrote at the models update though… at the end of the week after I’m done with all the stuff that has piled up on me.
    I see that in the comic their eyes light more then the eyes on the wallpapers. Also the 7th pannel reminds me of a horror movie, good pose and showing how different night elves truly are from humans.

    Also Dargi looks awesome, the snarly look on wolves gets annoying after a while… but seems Blizzard likes it, otherwise they wouldn’t have made those hideous worgen females look like that! Anyway, that’s a problem to debate for another time. I’d still like the in game player graphics to become more decent since the “old” races start to look from different games then the new ones… but I also wanted a game with few bugs released when Cataclysm came and that wasn’t the case even after a year or testing.

    I fear that WoW’s monopoly on the MMO market is starting to feel bad, they improve less and they make more bad choices since it doesn’t matter if they lose a few thousand subscribers, they have tons left. WoW needs a contestant, when will that come who knows. About every game someone said that it could be the next super MMO and failed, from that point of view WoW did bring a lot of interesting stuff originally. Which is why a good contestant to WoW, in my view, needs to be one that works similarly yet with some improvements that WoW can’t or doesn’t want to make. And here I will bring the ideea of “Rift:Planes of Telara”.

    Everyone’s been talking about that game and so I tried it too. ALthough I do feel it has copied a lot of stuff, not only from WoW but from more games, it’s also the thing that many of the designers are from the teams that originaly made WoW, Warhammer, Aion etc so it’s kind of hard not to let it be similar. Still, it does bring some new things, an inovative class system and zone wide events with all enemy factions that fight both amongst eachother and with your npc towns, showing you that the enemy really is a danger, as opposed to… let’s say Arthas, whose Scourge I could have bypassed all the time if I wanted.
    Sorry to have written about Rift too, not sure what your opinion is on it, which is why I wanted to ask, did you try the beta? If yes, what do you think? I saw you make some really good resumes of games so that’s why I’m asking you too.

    • 24 Nhani
      January 31, 2011 at 09:55

      To be honest, my opinion on Rift is about the same as my opinion on most MMOs – I don’t really care about it. I saw some advertisement or some such on Rock, Paper, Shotgun which barely piqued my interest enough to watch a brief trailer.. and it didn’t really succeed in anything more than fueling my disinterest.

      Here’s the thing – World of Warcraft got me started because it was Warcraft, not because it was a well-crafted MMO; for me, the whole “Massive Multiplayer Online” bit was a point against its favor, something I’d have to tolerate to delve further into a setting that WarCraft III had gotten me really interested in seeing more of. And even still now, several years later, I largely keep to my own group for instances and whatnot, mainly interacting with the rest of the realm I’m on through Roleplaying and little else.

      The only other MMO that I played for any notable stretch of time was City of Heroes, and that took a combination of really needing to get away from Earthen Ring for awhile, a few friends playing it and several truckloads of praise about its roleplaying community and it being available really cheaply before I even could be bothered trying. (It only lasted about three-four months, too)

      I generally prefer single player games – they tend to have more personal journeys, and story and immersion are generally two cornerstones in my enjoying games. In general, MMOs are actually something of an aberration for me because the mechanics are often very detached and arbitrary. To some extents, I’d say the three main reasons I’m still playing WoW is the small community I’ve built up over the years, that it’s Warcraft (no matter how much Blizzard seems to whip it around at times), and the immense vehicle of a character that is Nhani Moonfall. As you might imagine.. neither of those three tend to be things that other MMOs are offering at release.

    • 25 Moltrazahn
      January 31, 2011 at 14:48

      Having played RIFT beta 05 now, i must say, im surprised. Ive played wow since Beta, and over the course of the years, tried out EQ2, EvE, Starwars Galaxies and Dungens and Dragons Online. But many seem to have this thing were your avatar dont feel like they really interact with the world, its like they are on a slide, just going a direction with a boost in movement. Wow dont have this, which is also why i love it, it -feels- better to be part of the world, and not some ice skater slideing across it.

      Rift however, dont have this flaw, and like wow, it feels great. And boy, the invasions can really spice up dull questing. Plus, some of the invasions are a challange! its not just hack and slash.. I partecipated in one of the larger scale invasions, and i died 11 times (and i was level apropriate), and though some people managed to stay alive, i was all giddy inside, the encounter was intense, and the 23 other people was trying to keep debuffs on the boss, while us 3 tanks tried to have atleast 1 of us alive to hold the titan off.

      Im considering taking another wow breake when it comes out, and maybe try it out, ive enjoyed the beta thusfar, So i could end up becomming positivly surprised. And if not, wow is allways there to catch you if you fall ;)

      • 26 Frostsaben
        February 1, 2011 at 20:38

        Ok, thank you both for your thoughts. I’m considering myself a WoW break. I do love the lore of WoW, but in-game speaking I don’t have much to do except raid now. I wanted to try the Horde quests to see their side of the story, but can’t force myself, I made this goblin and by the end of Azshara I had died 24 times. And that with a class easy to play so it’s clear to me that my subconscious is telling me I really hate goblins and the Horde. Besides that not much to do but raid and grind, something I have become quite bored of… besides that I feel the game started moving too fast for me, I’m having an exam period now at univ. and every time I come back after 2-3 days of study “break” I see everyone 10 times better geared then me and already done half of the raids so not much doing those either.

        I am not sorry I rolled on the server I did though, for I met some really great people, but now they all seem to be gone from game… I do keep connections with them through mail, that’s great though :) Still beeing a PvE server once you’re done with quests if you don’t go raiding you’re preety much done.

        Anyway, sorry for my rant here, I don’t know, I just feel not like I’m bored, not bored of of the game and its lore, but of small stuff, like how I am treated as a customer(beta for Cata for 1 year then when I go in the live version I made a post on the bugs that could fill 5 pages, that’s not very nice, in beta it was beta, in live at least some should be fixed but still I see tons do not). I feel that for how much we’re paying Blizzard isn’t respecting us anymore.

  11. 27 Phan556
    January 30, 2011 at 23:17

    Amazing work! Nice seeing Van Cleef again posthumously and the more subtle effects he had on Hani. (though really, just seeing him was enough… you sort of turned me into a ‘fanboy’ with your portrayal of him)

    Now to begin trying to grasp what the dream itself means to her and how it will effect Hani in the long run. Tyrande as a center, Raene as her support and confidence, and Van Cleef voicing two of her true fears – disappointment and abandonment – and how it has come to be that she faces both now…


    P.S. New models are looking great… though Raene’s new boots had me do a double-take

  12. 28 Moltrazahn
    January 31, 2011 at 14:33

    Why could i see the amusement of placing Hani in Freuds chair, then have her tell of her dreams…
    That would be… comical, if anything, to see her expression at his conclusion.

    “Zo you zay dat your high prieztezz iz making approtchez to you in the dreamz yez? and conztandly iz qvestioning your aztionz?”

    anywho, we all know what he would comclude!…

    Nevertheless, i like the extra montage of people in her dreams, and as much as i loved the former armor of wolfrunner, i have to agree that this one suits the sentinel role better. About the freud comment, i do belive it would be interesting to have hani talk to someone (at some point) about it. I doubt she would, given her nature. But i could also see such dreams start to spim out of control at some point. We allready see how conflicting images start to appear there, and through its being surpressed sofar, i would guess it wont be long before Hani’s dream will wreck havoc on her mentality. we know she has a powerfull will, but given their quest, her past with the sentinels, her “idol” basicly throwing her out of her homeland… well, i’d really doubt Hani feels great about herself all the time.

    Anywho, love that you seem to be back on track Nhani.

  13. 29 Dugeoneeer
    February 1, 2011 at 02:42

    You should make one to where VanCleef informs Hani about his daughter, Vanessa Vancleef

    • 30 Ilyara
      February 1, 2011 at 13:04

      I don’t think he’s supposed to be an actual ghost: rather, that this dream is a reflection of Hani’s psychology in which Van Cleef has come to represent her doubts. Although there may be the hand of a goddess in it all as well: there’s some clear symbolism recurring in the comic.

  14. 31 saila AKS Wester
    February 2, 2011 at 15:52

    just going to drop my note on MMORPG well most MMO I seen is the kind of hack and slash whit little RP policy(MMORPG minus RP) , And an bit of fact in most the player starts as some kind of hero already at start and you stay as hero whit supper power wow in yes of course in that way but not that mush.
    its not like one can kill half an army single handled (instance dont cont and the stupid AI).
    then that wow is heading towards the MMORPG minus RP way is sad but as long as its some left… well I will stay here.
    Wow also have an long life and rich history something that other lacks.

    I have not tried rift so I cant say mush about that what more.
    the only other MMORPG game where RolePlay is an mayor subject is in fact Planeshift
    then that its open source is well… its an plus I men who cant say no to free, they live on donation if anyone wonders and you can peek as mush as you like on the code.

    There have also been an few free to play (but its almost that you must pay premium contains if your going to have an chance and enjoy it) okay I can live whit free and one membership level that mens some fluff plus/bonus but non of that ridicules level I seen.

  15. 32 Greentreegurl
    February 2, 2011 at 16:32

    Just wanted to Say that I really enjoy this whole story, and I look forward to every new Comic you put out. I was wondering what made you chose this particular story line. It is definately one of the most intresting World of Warcraft comics I have read, I am truly Happy that stumbled upon it. Have a great Day!

    GTG :)

    • 33 Nhani
      February 2, 2011 at 17:50

      To be honest, with the character arcs themselves I just picked things that were interesting to me – you have Hani Foonmall who grew up expected to become something great and then essentially failed, leaving her lost and confused. You have Rei “Tiny” who has this boundless energy that she could harness, but largely only uses it to go absolutely nowhere, and Te’len Nila who has potential but is afraid of tapping into it, of becoming more than she is.

      These were all just character stories that I found interesting to delve in, that resonated with me in one way or another. For me that was the important part, really – to have interesting characters; if the characters are interesting, then their journey will likely also be interesting, no matter how epic or mundane it might be. By reverse, if we don’t care about the characters, then we’re not likely to care about what happens to them, if they so are hanging by a thread over the jaws of oblivion.

      The macro story beyond that was just trying to take places I wanted to visit, characters and elements I found interesting and then seeing how I could best tie them together in a way that I felt could make sense. It was really just a question of thinking in ways like “How can I make the bits in Kalimdor and the bits in Eastern Kingdoms be related to eachother?” and then finding answers that I felt were believable enough.

  16. 34 Niam
    December 19, 2011 at 23:54

    I can’t seem to be able to view this comic. I have tried everything: save as, see on a new tab… Nothing works. I will probably try to check again tomorrow but, if you have any solutions, don’t hesitate in letting me know.

  17. 35 Niam
    December 20, 2011 at 19:37

    Yes, I can view it now! Sorry to bother.

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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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