The Characters of Carrion

Dear Reader,

Be advised the following will contain spoilers for my Carrion series. A lot of this probably won’t make any sense unless you’ve read the whole thing anyway.

Kane

The man of the hour, Kane is a lone gun for hire out for revenge. He’s in it for himself and no one else.

My main inspiration for Kane was the character Mr. Longbaugh (Benicio Del Toro) from The Way of the Gun. Both are terrible people who exploit and murder anyone in their way, and are also highly skilled in the use of firearms.

I also wanted to explore revenge stories. Movies such as The Revenant and John Wick have always made me think ‘Okay, so what happens after this character gets their revenge?’. In a way Kane is intended as an attack on the relentless pursuit of revenge that is so commonly portrayed in the media.

Kane frequently uses violence to solve his problems, and as the story goes on this becomes less and less justified. To begin with he rescues Mary Beth, then he shoots Eric in self defense, before initiating the gunfight at the caravan park and finally killing the security team for causing a disturbance at Greyson Apartments and threatens Mr. Greyson for information.

I kept Kane’s backstory fairly vague. I presume any family of his is either dead or he hasn’t met them. He’s a vagabond who drifts around for all sorts of jobs. As to where he learned to shoot, I figure he either joined some sort of faction he soon deserted or from some other criminal/s he worked with.

Silas

Silas is the middle aged doctor who initially assists Kane. He seeks a quiet life after one similar to Kane’s.

Silas initially tries to convince Kane to give up on his pursuit of revenge, but after realizing how stubborn he is, he decides to kill him. His initial relationship is inspired by the one Mr. Longbaugh has with Joe Sarno (James Cann) in The Way of the Gun.

He is also the infamous Kid Lighting, a ‘legendary’ gunslinger from before. That ended when he shot his brother Big Thunder during a siege between them and Sheriff Crowe’s men.

Sheriff Lucius Crowe

The crooked sheriff of Noname, Sheriff Crowe attempts to put Kane in his service, but is soon killed in the gunfight at the caravan park. The character was inspired by Lucian Connally from Longmire and Charles Barosky from Sons of Anarchy, both played by Peter Weller.

This is probably the one character I wish I had expanded on more. I think he comes across as more of a straight antagonist rather than a more neutral and complex character. I’ll get into why this didn’t happen in a later post on the admittedly haphazard approach to writing I had with Carrion.

Mary Beth

The farm girl Kane rescues in Part 2, Mary is a strong-willed woman in over her head after being taken prisoner by the Child of Transcendence.

I didn’t want to Mary to be some helpless victim who’s completely useless, but at the same time I didn’t want her to be a Mary Sue character who’s basically unstoppable. I’m pretty happy with the balance I achieved with her.

There was consideration of having her feature later in the story, potentially as a love interest for Kane, but I felt that hurt the flow of the story.

Eric

A lying criminal scumbag, Eric attempts to lure Kane into a trap in Part 3. Although initially impressed by his stories, Kane soon sees through him and kills him.

During initial drafts Kane was going to gamble with Eric and others to win money, wagering his gun. Eventually it warped into him being lured into a job.

Mr. Greyson

Mr. Greyson is the man who hired Kane, Vincent, John and Caleb. He owns the Greyson Apartments in the city of Jackson. Not much more to really say about Mr. Greyson. He’s admittedly more of a plot device than a character.

John And Caleb

The two who left Kane and Vincent for dead. Although initially these two would feature in the story, I felt it displayed how pointless Kane’s pursuit was if he never did find them.  Early on I did have the idea that Kane would attack either Caleb’s or John’s family, leaving their wife dead after being brutalized to show how low Kane would go.

Conclusion

I hope this has given you some insight into the creative process when it came to the characters of Carrion.

Regards

Your Writer

 

 

 

 

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The Guns of Carrion

Dear Reader,

With my Carrion series now finished, I’ve decided to discuss my decision making process. Be advised this will contain spoilers for the series. Also, you might not find this very interesting you don’t take any interest in firearms.

Kane’s Sidearm – The M1911A1

1911The 1911 may come across as an antiquated sidearm compared to more modern handguns that are lighter, hold more rounds per magazine  and are easier to maintain. The higher capacity certainly could have been very helpful during some moments in the story.

That said, I do have a few reasons for picking this hand gun. First of all, the 1911 has a lot of similarities to the Colt Single Action Army, which is the most common revolver used in Western movies. Both handguns were both manufactured by Colt, use .45 caliber ammunition (albeit different cartridges), are single action (the hammer must be cocked before firing) and both were in service with the US Military.

I also felt that having a plastic fantastic such as a Glock would somewhat go against the dystopian/improvised feel I was going for. I wanted to avoid having too many modern firearms in the story.

Finally, one of the inspirations for Kane’s character: Mr. Longbaugh from The Way of the Gun also uses a 1911.

As for the customization Kane had put on his 1911, I was going to have the bones be of the first man/animal Kane had ever killed, but decided against that. The XS sights are known for being optimized for close quarters shooting, which I felt was appropriate for the disregardful way Kane fights, and the bobbed hammer and ambidextrous safety were added to show Kane had invested a fair amount in his pistol.

Silas’ Rifle – The M1 Garand

M1 Garand.jpg

Much like the 1911, the M1 Garand is a rather old rifle. I felt giving Silas a modern rifle would again go against the dystopian/improvised feel. It also shows that Silas doesn’t really have a need for a high capacity weapon anymore.

Another reason I picked the M1 Garand over a more modern weapon is it gave him bit of a handicap. I could see the gunfight in Part Five becoming a lot easier for him if he had thirty or so rounds ready to rock.

Various Snub Nose Revolvers

Taurus snub nose

During the series, Eric, Kane and Silas make use of snub nose revolvers, similar to the Taurus Model 605 pictured above. To me this was the best way to include revolvers in the story, as they are easy to conceal, making them suited to the surprise attacks they are used.

The Cultist Submachine Gun – Uzi

Uzi.jpg

The Uzi is wielded by one of the cultists and then Mary Beth during Part 2. The only automatic portrayed in the series, I decided to go with the Uzi as it’s a widespread and affordable submachine gun. It’s also a rather iconic weapon that is well known, so I didn’t have to spend time describing it as the action went down.

The AR-15 – Kane’s Rifle Of Choice

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The AR-15 first features in Part One of Carrion, where Silas finds one in Vincent’s car. Later Kane acquires one from Lucius for the gunfight at the caravan park, which has a shorter barrel like the rifle on the bottom.

AR-15 made sense to me as it’s probably the most common 5.56×45 rifle in the USA. Although both rifles had a variety of attachments I do have my reasoning. For the first rifle in the car, I assume Kane lives as a gun for hire, so it’d make sense he either spent a lot of money on his rifle, or acquired one during a job. Obviously someone like Kane didn’t get his skills overnight, and he is an experienced gunfighter. For the rifle Lucius gave him, I assume that it’s either a Pre-Collapse rifle Lucius had or it’s rifle Lucius found and kept for himself.

Mossberg Shotguns

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Shotguns prove to be the most common long guns, having been used in Part 3, Part 5 by Lucius and Part 6 by Greyson’s Security team. Both Lucius and Greyson use Mossberg shotguns which is an American brand. Although Lucius’ shotgun model is not specified, the guards in Greyson use the cheaper Maverick 88 shotgun, although in hindsight, it may have been better to give them a more expensive shotgun to show off Mr. Greyson’s wealth.

I hope this provides insight into part of the creative process for Carrion. I plan on further discussing other aspects of the series soon.

Regards

Your Writer

I Have Been Reluctantly Dead (To the Internet) – Update #3

Dear Reader,

As some of you may have notice, I haven’t made a post in over two weeks. The reason for that is my computer died. Well to be more specific, my graphics card died. I had to get a new one which is now working just fine.

The good news is in my absence I have been able to finish off my Carrion series on paper, so expect that to be finished soon. I also intend to talk about the process of writing the series and influences.

Beyond that, I don’t have anything to really say. I’m glad to be back and hopefully I’ll be posting regularly again.

Regards

Your Writer

I’m Not Dead Update #2

Dear Reader,

Just posting to say that even though I’m not dead and I am working on things.

First in order is my review of the video game Pyre. I’m pretty sure I am 66-75% through the game so that review should be up in the next few days. I also intend to review Transistor, the previous game by the same developer.

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Trust me, I’ve got plenty of screenshots from Pyre too.

I will also be going to the movies tomorrow. If I get there early enough I intend to see Dunkirk, but otherwise I will be viewing War For the Planet of the Apes. As for other movies, I may try to see Atomic Blonde but don’t hold your breath for a review.

My Carrion series is still happening, but has been delayed as I am working on another project that I do not wish to talk about at this moment. I do have a rough draft for Part Six that I shall release soon, but for now I shall leave this little teaser:

Kane gets on the road as soon as possible. He knows that he won’t last long in the desert without any food or water. He needs to get back to where this all began. The city where he’d met his employer: Jackson.

He hopes Jackson is close. The roads almost seem aimless at times. The desert rarely offers landmarks, if any at all. Just a barren road with barren land. Finally, after a seemingly endless amount of miles, a sign appears. Jackson 39 miles.

Finally, I will be attending two music concerts in the upcoming weeks, those being Slaves (the American one with ex-Dance Gavin Dance vocalist Johnny Craig, not the British one) and New Found Glory. I look forward to giving live reviews a shot.

Regards

Your Writer

Steamy Games on Steam (And Other Concerns with Quality Control)

Dear Reader,

With the release of House Party onto Steam this week, Steam hosts it’s first game purely based on sex with interactive sex scenes. Sure The Witcher series has plenty of sex, but at the same time the game was more focused on monster slaying and the such. There’s also those anime visual novel things which tend to have +18 Patches, but those patches aren’t installed through Steam.

House Party on the other hand has only one objective, to get laid. Yes I have played free Alpha/Beta versions of the game before. If I’m being honest, I don’t think it’s anything special. The writing is really uninteresting and I’d say at best it’s the bare minimum one could consider a game. That being said it is still in early access and things could improve.

I will concede there is some content that may be considered offensive in House Party. For example the player to pull out their penis and masturbate, before ejaculating. It is possible for a player to ejaculate onto one of the characters in the game. To be fair characters do respond negatively to this harassment but I feel it’s worth noting that not all of the content in House Party is consensual. That being said this game is intended for those over the age of 18, who understand that behavior like that is inappropriate.

Sex in gaming itself is not new, starting with Softporn Adventure in 1981. In recent years crowd funding sites and the ease of access to game making tools such as RPG Maker and the Unity engine have allowed many indie developers to make pretty much any game they desire.

The question raised is that is it okay for Steam to sell what are basically porn games? In my opinion yes. I’ve always seen Steam as a market place where one can sell whatever goods they want, from Triple A productions to the latest crappy early access survival game that will never go anywhere.

To me the burden of responsibility to make a good purchase is on the consumer. If you can access Steam’s store, you can most likely look up reviews on Google and Youtube. A consumer who refuses to do any research into what they’re purchasing is basically guaranteeing that they’ll be screwed over.

One might be concerned with underage people seeing inappropriate images of some of these sex games. The store page for House Party features no offensive material, only the tags and reviews hint at the game’s true nature. On top of that, parents themselves should have responsibility over what content kids consume on the internet.

Finally, Steam hosts media with plenty of violence and other adult themes. I don’t really feel sex should be off the list. I mean what’s worse, a game where you try to have sex or a game where you kill millions of people from Badguyistan?

Overall I honestly don’t think House Party’s release will be that big of a deal. There are much easier ways to access explicit material on the internet. The game itself has much staying power unless significant improvements are made. Steam should be allowed to sell whatever is seen fit, it is up to the consumer to do their research.

Regards

Your Writer

It’s a Shooter, Not A Role Playing Game

Dear Reader,

There’s a modern trend in first person shooters that I frankly cannot stand. It involves the idea that I must grind experience points to level up my character. Two of the four shooters I’ve reviewed on this blog feature such systems, even though in one of them you play as a team leader of an elite commando unit that’s implied to have been in the military for at least 15 years.

I’m over it. I’m sick of it. Back in the day when you died in a first person shooter it was your fault. You fucked up. You used the wrong gun or you didn’t dodge attacks or you ran out of ammo.

Now the focus is on skill trees and leveling up. Spend an hour doing a certain action and now your character is better. To me this is filler content. Ever since games like Skyrim and Fallout 3 have become popular, people seem to rate a game on how long it takes to play through rather than what that content actually is.

Farcry 3 is a great example of what I’m talking about when it comes to filler content. In the game you start with the ability to only equip one weapon. To equip more you must hunt various enemies. You also have to do this to hold more ammo, grenades, molotov cocktails and even money. It made some sense for the protagonist to need to learn and improve himself, but it always feels you have to do spend a good chunk of the game focusing on just farming and leveling up rather than enjoying the game.

Focused content is better than just pure content for the sake of content. Shooters such as F.E.A.R., Spec Ops: The Line and Max Payne might only be eight or so hours long, but every level feels like it’s been crafted. The story moments are engaging and the character’s progression feels natural.

RPG elements can work if it has a purpose. I feel this year’s Prey is a good example of this. The character you play as is a scientist and uses NeuroMods to improve there own abilities. The difference for me is the progression feels natural. There is no need to farm enemies or jobs over and over again to progress through the game itself. Yes exploration is encourage and advantageous, but not to a degree where you’re spending hours to level up.

In short:

fuck this shit.png

Regards

Your Writer

 

The First Half of 2017

Dear Reader,

Having started this blog around April, I’ve not been able to post reviews of everything I’ve seen, heard or played this year. I intend this post to fill a few of those holes and act as an index for reviews I have done. Be aware I haven’t seen, heard or played anywhere near everything that’s come out.

Film and TV:

The Great Wall:

Matt Damon, William Dafoe, some actor from Game of Thrones and a bunch of Chinese actors collected a paycheck whilst running in front of a green screen. This movie was honestly so bad I bought Arrival to remind myself movies can be good.

Logan:

So far this would be my favorite movie of the year. This is what every comic book movie should aspire to be. Logan separated itself from the long running X-Men franchise with extreme violence and a bleak world. Hugh Jackman was great as always as the titular character, and so was Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Dafne Keen as Laura. My only complaints are that the villains were fairly bland and that the second act drags a bit.

Trainspotting 2:

Probably the only other movie I’ve seen this year that I can strongly recommend. To me this movie had bit more of a structure compared to the first movie. I also think Danny Boyle’s directing was rather creative at times with how he acquired certain shots. I will however recommend you watch this one with subtitles, as the Scottish accents are pretty thick.

Iron Fist:

I’ve been following the Marvel Defenders series ever since I got Netflix last year, and Iron Fist is easily the weakest series so far. The protagonist Danny Rand (Finn Jones) was bland and boring, and any of the dialog written around his company feels like it was written by a teenager who’s just discovered communism. The fights were nowhere near as good as Daredevil but unlike the other two series, Jessica Jones or Luke Cage, I didn’t really care for the characters either.

Cut the bullshit Netflix, what we need is a series focused on the The Punisher played by Jon Berthnal.

Ghost In The Shell (2017):

This might come as a surprise but I somewhat enjoyed this movie. It’s nowhere near as good as the anime and it falls apart at the third act, but I liked the direction they were going with it storywise before said third act. The action was pretty good even if it borrowed heavily from the source material, and I enjoyed some of the cinematography and the soundtrack. Scarlett Johansson was pretty good as The Major and I felt it was actually rather appropriate she wasn’t Asian considering everything that happens in the movie. I’d give it a cautious recommendation if you’re into cyberpunk things.

John Wick: Chapter 2:

Every time I think about this movie, I think about how much better it could have been. I honestly felt there was a lot to build upon from the first movie, but I found this sequel to be repetitive, blunt, and tiresome. Once Wick came back to New York, the movie changed tone to an extreme that absolutely confused me. I’m no longer interested in anything to do with John Wick and I probably won’t seek out the third movie. That being said Keanu Reeves as Wick does a good job with all the rooty tooty bad guy shooty stuff so just watch the action scenes on Youtube instead of seeing the full movie.

Wonder Woman (2017):

DC made a bland Marvel movie and apparently everyone loved it. I however found this movie to be a chore to watch. This is the same basic fantasy/sci-fi adventure movie Hollywood have been spitting out since fucking Star Wars. The music was terrible, the villains were laughable, the twist at the end was lazy and barely set up and I couldn’t wait for the movie to end.

Gaming:

Ghost Recon: Wildlands:

Well done Ubisoft, you remade Farcry 3 again.

Day of Infamy:

An enjoyable CO-OP WWII tactical shooter. Gunfire is loud, and combat is brutal. The community may be small but it’s friendly and relaxed. I’d highly recommend this game if you’re into tactical shooters.

Prey (2017):

This will probably be my favourite game of the year. Prey forces the player to think their situation through and come up with creative solutions with the tools provided. The enemy design is interesting and each enemy is unique in weaknesses and abilities.

Music:

BackWordz – Veracity

I was initially concerned when I heard BackWordz’s debut album was going to be 18 tracks long, but for the most part I feel they pulled it off. This is a hard hitting nu-metal album that explores many political issues from the view point of Anarcho-Capitalism. I still don’t like the track “Statism” as I find the lyrics very cheesy and I felt “So To Speak” added absolutely nothing to the album. I’m also pretty disappointed the song “Grindstone” didn’t make it onto the album as I feel that’s BackWordz’s best track.

At The Drive In – in•ter a•li•a

I was pretty pumped for this album since it was announced. At the Drive In is the band that got me into the post hardcore genre and I’d say Relationship of Command is one of my all time favorite albums. in•ter a•li•a might not be what fans were expecting, nor is it on the same level as Relationship of Command or In/Casino/Out, but it’s still a wild rock ‘n’ roll ride from start to finish and I certainly enjoyed it.

Body Thief – Speak In Hibernation

Although this album came out in 2015, the band just dropped a music video for one of the tracks that features on this album. Body Thief manage to blend the emotionally driven spoken word style of La Dispute with the funk-post hardcore styling of Dance Gavin Dance to create something truly unique.

Regards

Your Writer