Interviews

QWtD - Sketch Sanchez interviews BlkKnight!
lucky7s76 at 1:09PM, Jan. 28, 2009
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posts: 229
joined: 10-25-2007
The following interview was conducted by our own Sketch Sanchez in the Community Interview Project!

Username: BlkKnight

Comic(s): Crossing Death

So tell us about yourself.

I am a 26-year-old doctoral student with a background in statistics. I've grown up primarily on video games, primarily RPGs, and have always had a creative side. I am a very logical person and can come up with an algorithm to solve any type of problem. That trait has come in handy many times in tasks like programming and web design.

How long have you been drawing?

Technically, I've been drawing since 2001. I went sprite about 2004, and it wasn't until 2007 when I put a slight anime/manga spin that finally made my work not burn your retinas.

Who are your heroes-art wise? This could include, film, television and novels

I'd have to say Ren and Stimpy's John K. was an inspiration because of how that show only did something like one of those extremely detailed scenes if it was called for (at least until season 3). Dilbert's Scott Adams was another inspiration because he ended up being a cartoonist by pure luck. He also gave an awesome keynote presentation at the 2007 SAS Global Forum. Guess you could say that helped get me back into drawing stuff.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw my inspiration from anything and everything. Japanese music games (the ones you haven't heard of), television, courses I've taken, you name it. Crossing Death's latest chapter, for example, is going to touch on the darker side of children's programming.

Elevator pitch time-tells us what Crossing death is about, sell it to us, in a paragraph or less.

Crossing Death is a story about a group of people who end up crossing paths with some of the gods of the world–namely Aeren, the Goddess of Death. Typical roles and personality types will be found quite atypical in this world, and everything has a logical explanation. As for the story, the Kingdom of Faragon had betrayed a long trust between itself and Aeren, causing high tensions. Brick Obren, whose ancestor had managed to best Aeren in a battle, is the trump for either side. Brick, however, holds little allegiance to either side and will eventually be forced to make a decision. Little does he know that his decision will have a greater impact than anyone would expect.

Where did the idea first come from?

Crossing Death is technically the fourth of a group of RPG Maker games. Only the first two saw the light of day. The first one was your typical n00b RPG Maker game and the story holds very little weight in the rewrite of the series. The second one, Zephyr of Fate, will eventually find its way to your eyes once I secure an artist. This one follows some of the older gods and involves the discovery of some disturbing truths of Ther'ran's sister world, Lunis.

The Third story, known as Generations, followed two journeys of Aeren at different points in time tied together by a common thread. I can't go into too much detail on this one as it will spoil some surprises in Crossing Death. Crossing Death, in some ways, is the story that wraps everything into a neat little package. There may be some stories to follow Crossing Death, but I'd have to see when I get there.

How do you approach the work? For example, I don't have scripts-I cook up the basic plot in my head then draw every page out and add dialogue later.

I work in a similar fashion. I know my starting point, ending point, and major details. I begin to focus on the details the closer I get to needing them.

Do you have a favorite character?

I don't have one true favorite character. Though my tendencies are towards any of the gods in the Dribreze line (Althena, Aeren, Isis).

What do you feel you're good at, personally? (Dialog, pacing, etc) What do you feel could use improvement?

My strength are in the writing department without a doubt. While I won't put my art down, I cannot create a detailed masterpiece and update three days a week.

And lastly, any regrets? Be it a plot line, or characterization, or situation you wish you could do over.

I do wish I could go back and touch up some of the personalities in the earlier strips. I think I made Brick too goofy in the start…Not that he isn't prone to doing something clumsy or poorly every now and then.
By the time you finish this, you'll have read it. :3

deviantART
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:48PM
skoolmunkee at 3:49AM, Feb. 1, 2009
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posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
I think it's really interesting that BlkKnight is doing a comic about these characters and story, but also an RPGMaker game! Can you tell us more about that - why RPGMaker, where the story came from, whether it was originally meant to be just games or just a comic….
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
BlkKnight at 3:13PM, Feb. 1, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,101
joined: 5-28-2007
Oh wow, followup questions.

This whole thing originally surfaced from someone in a Final Fantasy forum (yes, I used to frequent one of those) making an RPG Maker game about people in the community. I was inspired that I could make one myself and in about one month, “Initial Fantasy” was born. From the title you could guess it was one big FF parody complete with a “special needs” Cloud character, two dark to light transformations, the biggest insult to the infamous FF7 Aeris scene, and a final battle with “The Creator” (i.e. me. This was a take on the final boss of FF Legend). It was crude, it had bugs, but the community enjoyed it.

I was then coaxed to start another game and went into development of “Secondary Fantasy.” I wanted to make this one a bit more RPG-like with a better story. Once again, I had some FF parodies such as the FF5 crystal seals and the traditional FF staple of there being no more than three playable female characters being reversed. The latter is also the reason the comic is so female dominated. The story also took place years after the first game from the perspective of “The Creator” (I have since regretted putting myself in the game, and the rewrite of this story has since corrected that). Instead of taking a month this game took three years to create, but those who played it loved it.

Naturally, you give people something and they just want more. So here comes game number three. For this one I transition from RPG Maker 2000 to RPG Maker 2003 because it has a side view battle system. At this point I became more aware of the limitations of the interface and started work on customizing things. I had a customized menu, Suikoden-like experience gaining, and a bunch of other stuff that made the game too convoluted. I eventually began to put greater favor on character and story production than the actual game mechanics that left me wanting to do things with the RPG Maker program that would be insane for a single person to accomplish. Thus, the project was eventually abandoned.

Finally came the fourth game, Crossing Death, which was originally going to be a nice, simple game in order just complete something. Once again, RPG Maker limitations lead to a desire to make things more complicated and the game didn't even get off the ground beyond sprites and plotlines. Considering in the timespan between Crossing Death and Secondary Fantasy, I decided I'd have to rewrite Secondary Fantasy in order to make it fit some of the changes in history. This time I did keep it fairly simple, but by this point I no longer had the drive to work on the RPG elements anymore.

I eventually found my way to Drunk Duck and after running an experimental first comic, decided to convert my story from RPG to Comic. In my opinion, it was probably the smartest move for preserving my characters and storyline. So to sum it all up, all these stories were based off of parodies that became something deeper. Threats to the world being stopped by a being who's purpose is to end life on the world, logical explanations to magical phenomenon, and the fact that all of this even makes sense in the first place is really the whole point I was trying to get across. While they were all just to be games, I think the comic format better suits the type of story I'm trying to tell.

Finally, as a thanks for reading all of that, here's a bunch of CD sprites. If you've been reading the comic, you should be able to recognize all but one of them.



Starting at the top left and going across: Brick, Serra, Janlyn, Vilia (adventurer), Vilia (soldier), Princess Alberta (yeah, that's what she looks like), Penny, Solis, and Aeren.

Really wrote more than I anticipated there :p
That's “Dr. BlkKnight” to all of you.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:26AM
Xade at 12:41AM, Feb. 2, 2009
(online)
posts: 48
joined: 4-17-2007
you forgot to mention that Penny is with the wings.

I'm hurt that you never mentioned our friendship and our little bouncing ideas around sessions on both of our stories. I'm picking. This is your moment, shine blk shine.

One day, when I am back to IOX and clean up the archive of all my fillers, leaving a jam packed IOX only comic I'll ask for an interview.

Avatar from Wazaga It was really cheap, and are much larger than this.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM

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