So, this comic is late because we’re finally where we want to be to fulfill the conceit of the series, and that gave me and Zach both just a touch of paralysis. And also, Civ is just goddamn electronic cocaine.
Beyond Earth is almost cocaine, incidentally. And I promised a bit of discussion on it, but that was before I realized that a big 2.0 patch is inbound for it. I want to love BE the way I love Civ V. I can’t right now and that makes me said.
That said, the game is largely repaired and if it had launched this way, I’d probably be playing it as voraciously as I played Civ on its launch. The color palate bugs me, because it’s somewhat dreary and doesn’t have a story to make that dreary sense make much sense to me, and there are quirks here and there that are confusing–sending an internal trade route to a city now makes the city sending the caravan the beneficiary, for instance–but largely, it’s a good game now and it kinda wasn’t before–No offense to Firaxis intended.
The wonders all feel unique and worth building, now, and they were all vaguely awful before. The game also now tells you if you’re close to losing to something inobvious, which was a critical fix. It’s still not as good as Civ V, though, nor as immersive. I’m withholding my real effort in reconsidering the game for their big 2.0 patch, though. I got a LOT of mileage out of Civ V for my entertainment dollar, and I think I am happy to look at this game a few more times to see if it rights itself.
So, Beyond Earth came out with a new patch that’s pretty freak’n addictive, and I’m going to do a review of it in this space sometime over the weekend, and update it with the next comic.
The nitty gritty of it is that I think Firaxis largely fixed the gameplay issues, and the game has the potential of being as addictive as Civ V. I have a few other gripes, though, and I’ll get into those after I’ve had some time to percolate over the time I spent not making comics to point and click at an alien world.
Getting Beyond Earth to unbreak on my computer meant also getting Civ V to unbreak, so my source of cocaine is back in two forms. Want to play alongside me? Here’s the game I’m in right now.
Scenario: You are Siam on an island full of city states and natural wonders. Venice and Spain are your neighbors. You’ll need all the DLC, because I’m a goddamn junkie. The link above should go to some screenies and a turn 00 autosave though. If you play along with me, I’d love to see what you end up doing!
All right, so I’ve given this a monumental amount of thought, and I’ve decided to change the font I use for the comic.
I almost switched over a while ago, because I was reading blogs by professional comic letterers, and chatting with them as time allowed, and reading guides and tutorials on the topic, and learned that I’d been doing a piss-poor job of making the reading of our comic easy and fun. I think the archive shows a really strong tend toward improvement as time goes on, too.
I love the Chinacat font, and the owner was kind enough to let me use it for free. It had the aesthetic I wanted, and I still really like the way it looks. But it wasn’t designed with comic strips in mind, and ultimately, I just can’t use a lower-case font anymore now that I know what leading is and now that I know a little bit about the rules for making a speech balloon. So I’m switching over the one of Blambot’s wonderful fonts (Unmasked) and will be using that indefinitely. It’s an attractive all-caps font that will allow me to better control the shape of my dialogue balloons, and my hope is that the change won’t be so jarring as to make people look at this comic and the comics to come and go, “Gosh, something’s off here…”
This will be especially strange for the Spanish Translation, because I basically use that to practice my lettering (Hey, Max, we miss you buddy!) and they’ll start looking really, really different in terms of lettering as they start to catch up with the English strip. Again, though, my hope is that this will be an improvement.
Hi Res version on Patreon! (free!)
So, for reasons I’ve never been fully clear on, the Chinese insist on taking (wildly inappropriate) English names when they come stateside, a problem that Mei Li and Ping are avoiding because someone–presumably Sera or Dr. Wolf–convinced them that May Lee and Ping are perfectly functional American names that don’t make either of them stand out strangely. That said, I’ve known girls named Mei Li in real, actual life who used American names like “Coco Butter” and “Agnes.” The former is a stripper pseudonym and the latter is a Grandma name, and neither really fit the bearers of the name well.
So, while I’m not completely clear on why this happens, I do have a fun theory.
I’ve had a lot of different names given to me by my Chinese friends from year to year–from Fat Ox (which didn’t translate offensively in Chinese but sounds awful in English) to, and I’m being dead serious here, “God’s Weapon-Gift” (武天赐). Names in Chinese have meaning, and people often have more than one name that people actually, for serious use. Not just truncations, like Jo from Jody, but full-on names that describe your character. The aforementioned Coco-Butter had a nickname that translated out into “Five Mouths,” for instance. (I absolutely do not have time to explain why I got the exceptionally regal nickname I listed above.) I suspect that this custom makes the choosing of an English name much less of a serious affair for a visiting Chinese student than it would be to me if I had to choose my own Chinese name–especially since there’s apparently a custom of your friends giving you different names.
With this in mind, however, yes, Cid’s Chinese name is Fat Beard.