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Messages - ArtDrake

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True Messiah / Re: Speculation! [Evidence-based]
« on: August 27, 2015, 08:45:21 PM »
If if weren't for the smooth and metallic right shoulder, I'd be more likely to see it as potentially organic. That and the way the head under the skull looks rotationally symmetrical, as opposed to any organic heads I know of, which tend to be bilaterally symmetric when on the shoulders of a bilateral creature (e.g. anything humanoid).

However, I will note that the hand looks like it has some kind of webbing between its fingers, which looks more organic than the rest of the thing.

But nah, I haven't concluded anything. My running hypothesis is that it's not organic or even shadowganic (like the shadowlings), but I'm not convinced there's not someone in there. I will say that the armor or carapace or exosuit -- whatever it is -- looks incredibly sinister, and there's rarely room for moral absolutes in Telepath games, so that's my rationale for supposing it might easily be propaganda; propaganda is where anything can look evil in a world where evil is within everyone or no one.

True Messiah / Re: Speculation! [Free]
« on: August 27, 2015, 08:21:16 PM »
If he's an android or an incredibly human-like golem, he could easily pass as an augmented human, but to Psys, he'd be obvious. Unless there are humans who've managed to transfer their mind's format to a mechanical one, in which case he'd be indistinguishable from one of them (though perhaps Psys could still tell the difference?); then again, maybe he is one.

But yeah, it seems this man's body has just been cybernetically enhanced. I'm really trying to consolidate our knowledge of all these different kinds of machine-people and person-machines that we're seeing evidence of in the images, because I imagine that if that's what they are, there probably won't be that many types of them -- which would mean I had to figure out what one thing they all were.

Then again, given the themes of diversity we get in TSoG and TT, I also wouldn't be surprised if there were as many kinds of partly or wholly mechanical people as there are those who use the technology.

Or maybe that's not what we're seeing here at all.

True Messiah / Re: Speculation! [Free]
« on: August 25, 2015, 07:33:20 PM »
On the note I ended on in the evidence-based speculation thread, here's a thought -- if the setting is alternate-universe Russia, in the sense that TSoG was the alternate-universe Middle East, maybe the church and the czar are using Psys to hunt down artificial people (super-advanced golem tech??) because their thoughts stand out as distinctively mechanical, even though they look and act like organic people. And that persecution stands in place of the pogroms of the real world.

Then the wealthy man in 09 is acting as a financial backer to a cause kind of like Baz was? And he's openly letting the person he's smiling at see that he's cybernetic or mechanical because this parlour is a safe place for him, and he can reveal his nature openly.

There's a reason this is in Free Speculation. It's most likely hilariously wrong.

TRPG2 / Re: Zoom-Enhance is doing wonders for the old TRPG2 crew!
« on: August 24, 2015, 08:59:06 AM »
Oh, and how could I forget David? [I'd do Falstaff, but he just turns from a pixelly blurry mess to a mess that looks like it was supposed to be an oil painting. The Hero doesn't really benefit from this at all, either, sadly.]


True Messiah / Re: Speculation! [Evidence-based]
« on: August 24, 2015, 08:47:12 AM »


No enhancements necessary on this one. I'm definitely calling symbolism here. "The mind is an open book" ... to Psys? To modern science? The hand is glowing, so I'm leaning towards the former. Not sure about the embers flying everywhere. Maybe it's to put a negative spin on the whole thing, with a bit of alarmist sentiment thrown in: "They read your mind like an open book!" Not sure what the person being Scanned(???) is wearing -- looks fancy. I can't see that they have hair, either.

The real significance of this picture is that it lends far more credibility to the thoughts that 04 and 06 are also merely forms of symbolism, and similarly, also possibly alarmist propagandization. See also 02 on that note.

General Speculation
On a separate note, if I didn't know better, I'd say that looking at the possibly Russian coastline barely visible beneath the clouds in 04, the Russian-looking facial features and dress of the soldier(?) in 02, and the contrasts between the abject poverty of the peasants(?) in 05 and the wealthy in 09 (who are currently emulating post-Industrial Western culture), plus the overriding themes of (Christian, but not Catholic, therefore possibly alt-universe Orthodox??) religion we see in 01 and 05 (and its borrowed apocalyptic imagery in 06), and partially 03...

I'd be tempted to say this game took place in a Telepath-universe version of Russia. That's probably my craziest theory to date. ><

True Messiah / Re: Speculation! [Evidence-based]
« on: August 24, 2015, 07:58:11 AM »


Overview and Setting
Wow. There's a lot to take in here. The scene is what looks to possibly be a parlour, with a well-dressed man in matching suit and pants, wearing what look like loafers of some kind -- he's holding a cigar in one hand, and a brandy glass (or cognac or bourbon glass, depending on how you look at it) with some kind of green liquid in it (though perhaps that's just the light) -- sitting on a leather(?) sofa. On the side table next to him, a green vessel (either a glass bottle or a painted metal flask, potentially) that probably contains more of the alcoholic beverage he's drinking. On the table in front of him, hundreds of gold coins, though I see no markings on them; they could be generic pieces, or a form of unmarked bullion, or maybe the lighting just forbids seeing the markings. Either way, this guy is stacked. Oh, and he seems to either be a cyborg or an artificial human -- note the seams in the skull that indicate he's made of components, and the mechanical eye.

Between the style of the suit, the style of the scrollwork of the wood above him, and the shape of the flask, I'm going to peg this scene as being (though of course anachronism of styles can occur in alternate settings like the Telepath universe) from no earlier than 1870, give or take. Naturally, this scene could be found even in a contemporary setting, because styles don't disappear. Note also the cigar that's incredibly straight -- it looks machine-made. However, I'm more interested in the lower bound on date that this scene can establish, because other pictures (02 and 05, especially) are better at establishing an upper bound. I'm pretty confident that this is a post-Industrial scene, though, of course, we know that in the Telepath universe, the Mechanics and Helenites are busy having a little Industrial Revolution of their own during what for everyone else is arguably late medieval or early Renaissance, depending on whom you ask.

Drink and Flask
What's he drinking? It's definitely either a brandy or a whiskey. If it's a form of bourbon, then that places us in the second half of the 19th century again, though if it's cognac or another brandy, that doesn't help as much. It looks green, but it may in fact be brown/gold, with just a trick of the light giving the greenish impression. In the former case, perhaps it's a pear brandy (serious possibility) or a kale whiskey (not-so-serious possibility). In the latter, it could be anything. Similarly, the green of the bottle might indicate its contents, or be simply a decorative feature. I'm not even really clear on whether it's a bottle or a flask. It's too circular for most flasks, but too angular for most bottles. As such, I'm leaning towards a metal flask, which have no restrictions on their shapes in the way glass bottles do.

His mechanical eye is green, and his face and skull come in several presumably detachable parts. Despite the sheer novelty of this detail, it doesn't really tell us much about the setting, apart from the existence of construction of humanesque machines (if the rest of him is artificial, too) or the reconstruction of lost parts with technology (if he's just cybernetic in some way). I mean, there could be a third option that shows I'm completely wrong, but those are the only two possibilities obvious to me. It fits with the existence of steampunk technologies in the previous games -- I'm very much up for seeing a bit of post-Industrial cyberpunk.

And the coins just tell us he's loaded. It could be evidence of gambling, since they're stacked like poker chips, in which case this is probably a small haul for him and he's even richer than this; or it could be money put forward to entice, as part of a business proposition (with the person he's currently smiling at?), designed to impress upon this person the means of their potential backer.

Oh, and his thumb is bandaged, it seems. Some ideas as to the significance of this come to mind, but none of them are really worth discussing in the absence of more information. Something something insulin monitoring after major surgery.

[Also, I did a thing where I upscaled the image to a higher resolution so it'd be easier to get a really close look at all the details present in the picture. These things were present before, but it was just hard to zoom in close enough for them, and the pixellation was off-putting; it's nicer to look at closely now.]

TRPG1 / Re: Where is the father?
« on: August 24, 2015, 06:11:11 AM »
Well, I'm just gonna go ahead and mention that given the age of Anya in TRPG:SoG, I'm almost certain the Nameless One is David. I haven't managed to finish the game, due to a couple of game-breaking bugs the last time I tried, so apologies if that's made explicit in an ending.

Regardless, the father is almost certainly long dead.

TRPG2 / Re: Zoom-Enhance is doing wonders for the old TRPG2 crew!
« on: August 23, 2015, 09:13:56 PM »
I mean, I'm not gonna try to deny it -- taken as pictures, especially for supposedly better-quality ones, these look horrible. I would never suggest using them as they are. But they've certainly given me a much clearer idea of what some of these characters look like, which means better future fan art. ^^ Not that I'm not several years late on that, but oh, well.

TRPG2 / Re: Zoom-Enhance is doing wonders for the old TRPG2 crew!
« on: August 23, 2015, 12:04:47 PM »
Hey, Niven turned out looking nice, and gosh, did Tastidian ever!

But others, like Hellion, look nicer, sure, but there's no real new information here.

TRPG2 / Zoom-Enhance is doing wonders for the old TRPG2 crew!
« on: August 23, 2015, 11:26:36 AM »
I'm no artist, as you can see from my attempts at fan art in the Art section -- my profile picture is probably the most polished thing I've drawn in recent memory. So I bring you not art, but what modern technology can do to bring out what was already there in the faces of our good friends and rebels who took down the Shadowling Empire.

They still bear a significant amount of pixel-roughness, but some of that can be smoothed in Photoshop, and some can be kept -- many of the single-pixel features are part of clothing texture and hair parts and such. Many are not. Regardless, these images provide a wonderful jumping-off point for anyone who wants to work with a high-def version of the true source images; nothing is lost here, only revealed from between the pixels. :)

I really love how all the soul the portraits have comes out now. Guy's curly hair, Anya's dubious expression, Jack's scar, Flint's facial textures.

I didn't enhance the shadowlings -- they don't have nearly as much to gain from it, and we all can tell what they look like. Black, floaty, smoky. Eyes. If you want to reveal every nuance in their character portraits, lemme know. The process didn't help Gelf any. Sorry.

General Discussion / Re: Ask the developer a question!
« on: August 23, 2015, 07:30:55 AM »
Do you have a running list of the various social issues and, by extension, themes you'd like to tackle in your games that you draw from as you create settings and arcs?

Or does the -- I hesitate to call it an... agenda? -- find its way into your stories even more organically than that?

True Messiah / Re: Speculation! [Evidence-based]
« on: August 23, 2015, 07:13:33 AM »
I'm getting most of the ‘mechanical’ hypothesis from the fact that it looks like the material is black iron. If you look closely at the chest, you see the color of rust, which could just be dried blood, of course, but then a little to the left of that, you can see the gentle gradient from where the surface interacts with ambient light in a way that screams "metallic". Its spikes don't look like bony protrusions -- they look like blades, just like what look to me like metal blades in the background.

Bone doesn't naturally have those kinds of holes in it. Knives like this one do:


As for the idea that the hand with claws is actually a clawed gauntlet -- I don't really believe that's the case, but I'm noting that a hand could fit inside that shape. The fact that the hand and claws flow seamlessly together doesn't contradict this; a clawed gauntlet would be made of one material.

Really, if we're pursuing the shadowling connection, I'd think it'd be more plausible to suggest they were updated Phantom Armors. I don't see anything organic about them, apart from bone, and I'm not sure where you're getting bone marrow.

And the horse? I got the impression the flies were buzzing hungrily after the last little scraps of burning, rotting meat off this horse's skeleton. Or they just symbolize decay.

True Messiah / Re: Speculation! [Evidence-based]
« on: August 22, 2015, 09:44:01 PM »
I just think there'd be more stylistic cues if it were shadowling-related. Sure, it's dark and has a bone-mask, but it's spiky and mechanical-looking and humanoid and lacks the smooth curves shadowlings like to put into their designs.

True Messiah / Re: Speculation! [Evidence-based]
« on: August 22, 2015, 08:16:51 PM »
Interestingly enough, Chocobo_Fan, I had the same thought about it potentially being a Shadowling Empire Wins AU, over in the Free Speculation thread.

Bug, now that I look again at 02, a couple of things strike me. I didn't realize the bone was a mask at first, though I shudder to think from what animal's skull it might have been fashioned. But now I'm realizing that there's no real reason that it couldn't actually be a form of power armor for a human. It looks mechanical to me, but in a way that doesn't preclude the possibility of it being a form of full-body mail suit. It seems to have claws, sure, but below the claws, it looks like a pretty normal hand swathed in a gauntlet.

As for the shadowling abomination hypothesis -- the major hole to overcome is that shadowlings are incredibly proud of their physical forms. They sneer at organic organisms that rely on squishy bits to run properly. Sure, an insane shadowling ruler could conceive of the idea, and maybe create automatons that reflected a union between shadowling and flesh, but as for actually trying to get any shadowlings to get on board with the idea and give up their purely smoky, shadowy forms? Never going to happen. They'd get overthrown.

Telepath Tactics / Re: Lissit language
« on: August 21, 2015, 05:11:24 PM »
Firstly, I find it a delicious linguistic comeuppance that the Lissit word for the Shadowlings is roughly 'fleshless', after calling the humans 'fleshling' for so long.

Second, I noticed some other cognate-like words:

Filesh for meat resembles flesh or fleisch in German.
Silith resembles silex in Latin, for 'flint' (the name of a beloved stone golem), and also the source of the word 'silicon', which is pretty much the element that defines rock. Silicon dioxide makes up most of the earth's crust.
Nuurss being North is pretty close.

Third, some points:

In Fangiss Ka, if -iss is the adjectival marker, wouldn't that make it "The Fanged Lissit" or "Our Fanged People", or some other construction where Fangiss modifies Ka?

And silithis seems to come from silith, which implies that patient has the origin of "stonelike", "patient as a rock".

Gehassiss is most definitely sorry, remorseful, or ashamed. At least one of those. Most likely the first.

Also, grammatical point. Infinitives can be used as nouns: "To love is to bear great pain." "You are mistaken; that is to live." Not all languages have a gerundial construction like "living" or "committing suicide", so they go with the implicit noun interpretation of the infinitive. If it were being used as an adjective, it would have been translated as "suicidal".

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