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About
Freelance magical girl and drug trafficker:


Check my blog out at "truongasm.com!"
Check my portfolio out at "thomastruong.com!"

I'm easily the most popular Vietnamese guy out there. I'm not? Name another Vietnamese person... Ho Chi Minh? He's dead... and a city.

Nine Favorite Game(s) of all time:
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2
Phantasy Star Online: Episode 1 & 2
Pokemon Soul Silver
Super Mario World
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Robot Wars Z
Team Fortress 2
ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman
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Considering picking up Project DIVA F today on PSN? I have a video review here for it that might sway your opinion (or otherwise).




Tried putting a little more meta humor in here along with some more personality. There's a couple extra notes I couldn't cover in the review without breaking up the flow:
•    When I mention swipes don't clash with buttons, there is one exception with a DLC song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-OhfekEsQ4), which clashes quite a bit.
•    A few extra accessories and achievements are tied to the Miku Room/Petting minigame, but they aren't necessary to "complete" the game.
•    Earlier Project DIVA games had segments in the final part of a song where 80% of your score is determined at that bonus points, that system has been removed for smaller segments that just dock some of your percentage if missed.
•    The game actually has a Data Install feature and with a digital version anyway, the load times for the PS3 version are going to be minimal. What a perfect game!

The game drops later today on the PS3. The European release has been delayed to September 4th.








If you can't wait 24 hours, here's a very detailed critique and early look at Sanctum 2 for the PC with my classy video series, Tonight we Try.


It's also the latest in a series of video reviews I've been doing if you're not already familiar with my other video content.

In my video reviews, I attempt to have real honest and deep critique of the products I'm examining, as I've kind of grown tired of "mainstream" video reviews where it's 90% skits and comedy, or unrelated video clips played over someone briefly describing the product for me. Not that's there's anything wrong with gaming videos that try to pander far more than inform, but there's quite a lot of it now and more often than not, the "ran-dumb" sketches aren't funny and pad out what could've been said in a few minutes. I try to level out entertainment with education, but I guess it's all a balancing act on how true I want to be to myself, and how I appear to others.

A lot of reviews also just briefly address things as "fun" or "tedious" without describing examples or going into detail, so I try to use the medium of video to convey what can't be done in simple text. As well as putting some presentation into it so it doesn't look like an assortment of random video clips and can even be listened to without visuals. But in that same regard, I'm also worried about going on too long with video or spending too much time driving a point home.

So rant aside, if you would like to check out any of my other reviews or give feedback, I'd much appreciate it. More like the one below can be found at my Youtube channel:









To keep it brief, we’ve run into a few hang-ups with development of Podtoid Episode 2. I originally wanted to release it on 4/20, but we’re simply not moving fast enough on it. And there’s some small errors that need refining in order to make this a great video. It’s probably going to be pushed more toward May at this point. Like Jim, I don’t really start kicking projects into high gear until it’s dangerously close to the due date and I feel the walls caving in on me, so maybe I should start announcing all my projects a week in the past.

One may notice I’m using the word ‘We’. That’s because I have Podtoid fan, Frank Margarella, helping out with the animation this time around, along with a possible third person later this month. I’d like to emphasize that Margarella is a full time worker/student, and considering how much he’s done on it already for free, he shouldn’t shoulder blame for this.

Here’s the segment list for the second episode in the order it will play in, we were considering some external help with the Willem Dafoe pitch, but we might just wait to include it in a future episode or turn it into its own thing so it take off in its own way without taking up episode time for other Podtoid segments. There’s still a good 8 minutes of animation there so the episode length won’t be handicapped too much compared to the first one:

• Michael Phelps: Swimmer
• The Make a Wish Foundation and Popcap
• Commercial Break: Bad Dragon Ad
Willem Dafoe Pitch: The Breast Man (Postponed for now)
• Twitter Questions: Final Fantasy: All the Bravest

As of now, only 2 are almost done, and the Make a Wish one is the longest. So we basically have to step-up our game. After all, the only time delays that should ever be accepted are for large scale KickStarter projects with thousands of backers. </sarcasm>

But one bit of good news, I decided what kind of community contest will take place for the second episode:

PODTOID COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN 2: FAKE GAMER GIRLZ GRAPHICS

UPDATE: ENTERING THIS IS NOW CLOSED


Like the Spider campaign in the first episode, we’re going to push your artistic skills to the test.
Since a large part of the second episode takes place in Popcap’s Offices. You can have a chance to design Fake Game Covers that appear in the episode. These fictional game covers will either highlight the office walls of Popcap or be game cases resting on desks. Basically, I’m looking for humorous stuff like parodies and absurdities. The best examples are the kind of stuff Max Scoville does on (precious) company time at Revision3:
(Special thanks to Vid Cirman for the suggestion of examples.)





So the steps are simple:

1. Make a DVD Case/Poster sized game cover in whatever file format you would prefer
2. Post a link to it here in the comments, or on the Podtoid Facebook page, by May 5th. That’s Cinco de Mayo!
3. If you don't want to be credited by your Destructoid name, leave your real name or alias in the same post as the image.
You don’t have to make the back cover, and it can be done by whatever method you would like.

There are three requirements to keep in mind though:

• Safe for Work. I can’t emphasize this enough.
• Avoid personal images taken without permission. So no images of family members, friends, or people you don’t like or standalone art assets without proper context for what you’re parodying. Nothing that can cause litigation or even a simple angry letter that will get the whole video taken off. A safer alternative is to simply draw your own artwork for the cover or learn to shamelessly trace.
• Self Insert / Personal Fanwankery. I do have to admit to a pet peeve against self-insert works appearing in this campaign. So while they still may get in if done tastefully, I’ll advise against making some dream-game cover where your self-insert character is making out with a flawless anime girlfriend. Just use good judgment. And if you don’t know what kind of stuff I’m referring to, it’s either for the best you don’t know… OR YOU’RE ALREADY DOING IT AND DON’T KNOW ABOUT IT. So spooky~.

In apology for all the delays in the first place, here’s a character designed for appear just in the next episode. Animating him for just eight seconds took at least two hours. It’s the Varka: the black dragon of Scotland, known for his thick sausagey cock. Cum tube (and tribute) not included.



Thanks for your patience (or understandable lack thereof), and good luck making art about video games.
Photo Photo Photo








So TWO months after I wanted to make this post I’m finally starting production on the next episode of The New Adventures of Podtoid. My only excuse was being completely busy, but as one can see…

Movie Defense Force
Corgi Video Game Heroes
Eight Emotions Elicited in 2012
Final Fantasy: ATB Review

It all went towards a good Destructoid cause. But now, the only three things I’m keeping on my Plate are this, my game reviews, and my convention footage. So I’ll be going eating, drinking, and shitting out Podtoid from today onward, and speaking of Valentine’s Day:





Each of these cute cards is a hint to a segment on the second episode… I wonder what they are. There’s also a bigger priority on getting Max and Tara into clips this time around. The running length of the audio alone is going to be 9 minutes, 41 seconds, but with some external help (more on that below) I think it’s very doable.

Seeing as I can casually get about a minute of Podtoid quality animation done over a weekend (alone), I hope to get 10 minutes of animation completed every three months, and if it’s done a little faster than that, more downtime for me.

If people want to know what is considered high priority, it’s these bits in no real order:


I went through my whole database of “this generation of” Podtoid and there were plenty of difficult choices, but these ten in each category stand out to me for different reasons. These are what I want to get done with more than anything else.

I intentionally didn’t pick choices like “Jonathan talks to Psychic Hamburgers” or “Doctor Crack Cocaine” since those were already animated by other people and the last thing I want to do with conflict with some cool stuff other people have already made. Maybe I’ll do them at some point, but for now, I’m grateful someone else shares my sense of humor:




So here’s the release plan: (Barring delays)
2nd Episode: April
3rd Episode: July
4th Episode Preview: PAX Prime (Basically a big circlejerk for me)
4th Episode: November 12th, 2013 (Because 11/12/13 is awesome)
And so forth…

So per many requests and recommendations, I’m recruiting some extra help for this. I have to note that since this is a labor of love (at the moment) for all parties involved, these are unpaid roles.
If you can:

• Animate in Flash
• Illustrate Characters
• Build Character Rigs and Libraries
• Illustrate Backgrounds
• Compose covers/parodies of licensed music

Let me know. While I want to give amateurs a chance at working on some really cool stuff, there’s a certain level of quality I need. It’s not a high bar, but MSPaint artists and those who will need instructions on the difference between modern tweens and classic tweens need not apply.

Email me at: thomasqmtruong@gmail.com and I’ll set up a Google Mailing Group for anyone interested in a week or two. Also, please be professional with your grammar in the email and link your portfolio or examples of your work. With the number of past projects I’ve organized, while first impressions from someone’s lazy emails don’t always mean the person is unqualified, they often are telling of a person’s work ethic.

If you have already attempted to contact me in the past, I’ll automatically add you to the Email group and email you soon when I get everything sorted out. Cleaning up my untitled character libraries and creating storyboards that exist somewhere other than my head is going to take some time, so please be patient for that to be addressed.

Schedules will be somewhat lax as I have enough of my own stuff going on, but I want to avoid situations where someone just stops communicating a week before the episode goes live, so if you’re busy or your schedule is erratic, then this won’t be a good fit.

We’ll assign people short segments to animate or give them some time to design characters/backgrounds that match the “style” I set up for Podtoid.

Thanks and stay tuned for more.

P.S. here's something for BrownEyeWinkin to get excited for:
Photo Photo








Corpse Party: Blood Covered was a (twice remade) PSP horror title that was touted as a hybrid RPG/Adventure game. Although very light on the actual gameplay, the storytelling and presentation left quite the impression on many a gamer. Now a sequel is among us in the form of Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, a visual novel-type experience that is intentionally less interactive, but more narrative. But do the changes make for a fun shindig, or a complete massacre?


This review can also be found on my enthusiast press blog at: BowtieCat.com

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows
Platform: PSP (Digital)
Release Date: January 15th, 2013
Genre: Visual Novel
MSRB: $19.99

Rarely do I add a disclaimer to a review, but this game makes quite an exception for two reasons. First, Book of Shadows is read as a visual novel, which WILL be a major turn off for those looking for a more hands-on experience. While there will be limited exploring with some risk/reward for digging too deep, it’s primarily a very text-heavy venture whose “quick-time events” are as simple as choosing between two text options. Second, the game will be very impenetrable without playing through the first game, Blood Covered. While the plot is briefly addressed again (and again, and again), it’s delivered with the assumption that readers have knowledge of the lore in Corpse Party. It’s pretty much required as well since some additional gallery features are also unlocked with save data from the first game.


Don't you believe in fairies?

Corpse Party's plot involve a group of students who get trapped in a hellish school where the rules of physics, time, and space don't apply. There are horrifying traps lying around and if the spirits don't kill you, the psychopaths will. Our main protagonists will discover not only other students to briefly interact with, but a series of ghosts that thwart them at every turn as they try and escape. While the first game has a complete beginning and end, Book of Shadows acts as supplemental material to the established plot. It's broken up into several chapters and a bonus prologue (which is easier to unlock by migrating that aforementioned Save Data). The chapters are directed by a few different scenario writers who have plenty of stories to tell about supporting cast from the first game. These side characters do get some much desired backstory that only adds to the bitterness of their tales in Blood Covered. It’s somewhat awkward when most of the true endings are on par with the bad endings in terms of the grisly destinies of the characters involved; but it works somewhat as a message about unavoidable fates, a common trend in each chapter.


"Tasukete!"

Aside from being Japanese fare, the dialogue itself never becomes subpar, only dropping to a lowbrow level when some generic fanservice tropes arise. Otherwise, every act of torture and decomposing body will be disgustingly delivered in gritty text and sound. Questionable terms like “jelly” (in the sense of jealous) and “dat ass” (in the sense of butts) popped up unexpectedly as well, but the dialogue for the most part is on key with the original script. While text drags on in the more peaceful scenes, you’ll wish the descriptions of murder, torture, and other nasties ended sooner… for entirely different reasons. It’s overall not the pinnacle of visual novel writing, but the presentation and delivery has been managed very well. Visuals, while limiting in this genre, are uncensored and visceral (in more ways than one), as you’ll see plenty of titular corpses and the aftermath of several dismemberments.


What's more disgusted is what you can't hear.

It’s best to treat the whole package as a horror story anthology, not alike the way many Japanese films are presented. While the different writers open up some varying levels of delivery, it becomes noticeable when Chapter 3 is a purely text experience with a few timed dialogue trees and Chapters 2 and 5 feature full-on exploration and puzzles. Each chapter will take more than an hour a piece, but with eight in total, you’ll have no shortage of gore and misery ahead. While the game may not be terribly scary, it is constantly unnerving and even addresses some horrible human taboos in ways (localized) games rarely do as a medium... and I'm not talking about just implied child torture.


I could've picked worse images.

Addressing the actual “gameplay” of this title, there are some things that make it slightly more interactive than a “choose-your-own-adventure-book (-of-shadows)”. When you do control your characters, they venture from room to room with point-and-click-controls, looking at interior shots of many dilapidated hallways and classrooms. The actual act of pixel hunting wasn’t an issue since your cursor lights up when an interactive object is found. Otherwise, it’s a fair “side-grade” to the tile hunting and backtracking that plagued some players of the first game.


Gentlemen... tiles!

To heighten the tension, our protagonists also have “Darkening” meters, which track sanity and stability (ala Eternal Darkness). As you come across ghastly and gory sights in the game, your meter will rise as your characters falls into paranoia and despair. This alters your vision and the sound/visuals in some rooms might change. I felt it wasn’t utilized nearly as much as I would’ve like in the end, only cropping up a handful of noticeable times. It even caused some frustration early on in the game as I needed my meter to reach a certain point before a story related event could occur so I was stuck for a little while until I realized I was supposed to increase the stat I’m inclined to keep low. Luckily, this backwards gaming logic only occurred once for me in the gameplay.


This room didn't look like this 10 seconds ago...

On that matter, puzzles in the game are simple, usually revolving around visiting new sections of the map, and either finding usable items or triggering events. There were a few occasions where I had to backtrack around for about three minutes trying to figure out what to do next, but I only had to refer to baby casual external help just once for a poorly planned puzzle in the 5th chapter. Nothing is worse than getting lost and bored in a game that intends to be scary, so in some ways, the hand-leading was more preferred.


Dialogue from the dead often continues as you're searching through rooms.

The cries of criticism did not fall on deaf ears, the team behind Book of Shadows resolves two issues with the previous game. Players are allowed to save at any time, even during dialogue options. Text/travel can now be fast forwarded with the R button, avoiding much of the annoying repetition from Blood Covered when a player gets a Game Over and has to repeat known events. As the designers knew what to keep from the first game, Book of Shadows has a large amount of collectables, including: name tags of dead students, CG images, songs, and short interviews with the voice cast.


Gotta unlock 'em all.

I have to earnestly advise that Book of Shadows be played with headphones. The game liberally uses surround sound, as the pitter patter of ghost feet and voices come at you from every audible direction. The game doesn’t rely on visual jumpscares, instead it relies on jolting stingers and intimately close line delivery. A few times, I was unsure if a sound effect I heard came from the game or what was currently happening in my busy abode. The music doesn’t slouch either, expressing some of the most fitting and well delivered tunes found in these types of games. The voice acting sells the whole product as many Japanese veterans of game and anime lend their chords to the drama. It’s interesting to see many voice actors I’m familiar with, deliver emotions I honestly didn’t know they were capable of. On a side note, it’s very interesting to see actresses: Rina Saito and Satomi Arai reprise their character’s relationship and voices from the franchise: A Certain Magical Index (albeit to a more ghastly conclusion).


It was in your throat.

$20 is a very reasonable price for a visual novel, and you’ll be definitely getting your money’s worth with the amount of written and voiced content in this game. The whole experience ended up taking a little more than eight hours to reach the “Final” conclusion, but upwards of twelve or more could be spent achieving all the wrong endings, and collecting every asset for your collection. Book of Shadows isn’t without some lack of satisfaction though. From a narrative standpoint, the game feels more like an expansion than the “sequel” moniker some people give it. The chapters don’t change anything about the core game and if anything, add some confusion and theories to what is really transpiring. Since there are broken up into non-sequential chapters, with some of them being “what-if” stories, it makes the whole thing a little disjointed as well. At the risk of spoiling an aspect of this game, it ends in a rather ginormous cliffhanger that promises to lead to a future title. But like Spec Ops: The Line and Journey, the immediate after-hype does inspire one to go online and look up discussion topics on the game. So mission accomplished in that respect.


Dig in.

While some series try to open up the appeal of their titles to a broader audience, Book of Shadows limits itself to a niche market, but succeeds in delivering a solid experience to those who want to get invested in it. I have a bunch of friends that I cannot respectfully recommend this game to; but there’s also a handful, who like visual novels and/or Corpse Party, that will eat this title up.

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows gets a:
4 out of 5.

This version of the game was played on a PS Vita and was provided as a review copy by XSEED. All chapters and several bad endings were achieved within eight hours. Additional images in this review were provided by XSEED's site for the game.
Photo Photo Photo








New Year’s Resolutions!? One will wonder what why I’d bother posting this on Destructoid. Well, just about all of mine have something to do with video games, and may ring closer to home then you will realize. Some people think New Year Resolutions are just self restricted goals placed on an arbitrary date. Well… one way to put it (if you’re a loon like me), is that they’re practically achievement points.

NYRs are useless and imaginary objectives that have no reward, but one’s own self satisfaction. (Unless you’re trying to cut down on fatty foods to kill your diabetes, then that might actually save your leg.) As someone who only wants to better himself, I’ve thought by making several resolutions for myself to uphold. Like a game, it would be enjoyable and rewarding to my own persona. So ranking each of them on a scale from -3 Hamzas to +3 Hamzas (because what's a better measurement of loathing), here’s all of resolutions I’ve made last year. With 365 days in the making, how did I end up doing?



Write More. At least 12 Reviews and Many Articles.


I strove this year to write more content for my own newssite BowtieCat.com, and a few for Destructoid. If not to built my “portfolio of publications”, but to scratch that bug I have for writing. In this case though, and despite writing several lengthy articles and reviews; I did not meet my quota for 12 reviews, which would’ve be comfortably spaced at one a month. I felt short at 10. However, instead of giving up, this failure will only strengthen my resolve to meet this goal next year, or possibly write even more. I’ve been obviously getting some good reinforcement for it by the fact that Activision, Konami, and Disney have graciously sent me review copies this year so my word is worth something at the least. And I’ve even got one feature published on Dtoid’s front page.




Watch Your Language


Freedom of speech is something important to me and, fucking hell, I like to swear. However, there’s a time and place for everything and even the most inept of individuals will know to mind their syllables around toddlers or not use racial slurs in public unless they’re expecting some hostilities.

So online, whether it be in gaming or chat, I strove not to use these words: Nigger, Faggot, Rape, and Autistic. Ironically, I’ve only played Mass Effect 3 extensively with online players this year and Black Ops 2 on the Wii U (for a review, don't hurt me) was a quiet experience.

These words mean nothing to me, but they still affect other people, and regard of my intent, they always come off as hostile to people I don’t know. If my intent is to mess with someone (which I rarely do), a person’s race or sexual preference should NOT be regarded as a negative. Sure, putting words on a Do-Not-Touch pedestal gives them some power, but respect towards other people is a two way street. Just because I’m fine with someone calling me a chink or a queer, doesn’t mean it justifies using other words against people who could be offended.

And regardless of usage, it actually turned out for the best, at least in terms of the word: Rape, a four letter symphony of controversy that has had quite the encore in terms of exposure this year. Of course, I could write a whole concerto about the many movements that shook up the industry this year, so we won’t be making a cadenza about it here.



And the last thing I need is someone thinking I’m 12, or pewdiepie. I can’t tell what is worse.

The only reason this isn’t a +3 is because I still use the word Autistic as an adjective rarely to describe some people’s behavior, when what I really need to do is: Expand my own vocabulary to explain peculiar habits in people, instead of lumping everyone into a category that’s turned into a derogatory term.




Be Less Like Jim y Jon [Argue Less]


Jim Sterling and Jonathan Holmes like to argue, sometimes to the annoyance of both sides. This has caused quite a ruckus to Jim’s public perception in the past, and some people are still hung up on it. Granted, Jim has changed his tune so much in the last few years alone that he’s now even been called a overbearing feminist.


Just another excuse to use this image

So the way this tied into my own self improvement is this rule I made for myself:

For 2012, Limit myself to five arguments on the internet with people I don’t know.

Simply, if it’s not a close friend or family member, I can only get myself involved in arguments FIVE TIMES on 4chan, reddit, twitter, etc. for the entire year. And trust me, it's harder than it looks. So many potential shitstorms just ended in me attempting to be the bigger man and just ignoring the other side. Arguments on the internet often result in both sides never reaching a mutual conclusion, sometimes even when objective facts are presented. Rarely does an opposing side in an argument reach an epiphany that they were wrong, lest they are forced to admit it. Well it’s still not useless to have debates and reach a certain level of understanding with people, 140 character spurts or an anonymous board is not the place to do so.

What’s keeping me from +3 Hamzas is that I’ve instigated two of the five arguments I’ve had, bringing myself in unnecessary spats with people who I knew wouldn’t agree with me in the end regardless. And I still got embroiled in useless arguments with people I DID know on limited outlets such as twitter.

So what now? Well, self-betterment shouldn’t be limited to one year. I’m hoping in 2013 that I have even less bitching, for my sake.




Be More Like Jim y Jon [Be more out there]


A hump I needed to get over was my own embarrassment with gaming and anime culture. In other words, I was tsundere. I couldn’t embrace it in the same way as some of my friends and peers could. This probably stemmed from High School in which nerd culture was still “highly gay and retarded”, and my college days were made up of: "You weren't a “real artist” if you like Anime or were in a Game Design Program." This stigma was a barrier I was able to overcome this year after seeing folks like Jim y Jon not only find enjoyment in the projects they’ve done, but get some major, positive reception from people who care. There’s a lot of good people out there who share your interests and as long as no one is getting hurt, what’s the harm.


These are beautiful people. Except for the one in yellow, I heard he’s a prick.

Some of the biggest inspiration came from this video. One could look at it from a negative perspective of the state of “GAMEZ JURNULIZM”, but I saw a free spirit who just wanted to have fun and share it with the world.


Video Games are serious business.

“So fuck the haters,” I told myself, and I soon became a magical girl on a quest to just be as ballin’ as possible. In the long run, all those that looked down on me in High School were so far removed from my life, it didn’t really matter anymore anyway.


Everyday I'm suffering.

A year ago, I wouldn’t have made this video. I would have backed down in cowardice and been afraid of the results. But even Reddit, out of all places, just said, “YOU GO GURL!” I’ve stopped self loathing the things I want to like, and come “out of the closet” on my own nerdom. Seriously, thank God (in the phrase sense) for Jim Sterling and Jonathan Holmes. Without them, life would be a lot less liberating and exciting.




Buy Less Games (You have too many you idiot)


I Totally fucked this one up royally. Not only did I extend my backlog by several months worth of gametime, I’ve purchased a 3DS, a Vita, an iPhone, AND a Wii U in one year alone. And I’ve already got several preorders for 2013 awaiting release. It’s going to be a great (busy) year for gaming. While I did beat a lot of titles, I’m looking at the harsh reality that a lot of games I’ve paid full price for will sit there with less than acceptable of investment and that’s a black hole people should not get sucked into.


Yeah, I bet you didn’t even know the Vita had this many games. Well, that would make you uninformed, and that would make me:




A Dick. Be Less of it.


I’m often terrible critical of people, I’ll step on toes and voice my opinion regardless of whether a person is ready to hear it. Even though I tried really not to be rude and crass, I still came off that way when I didn’t need to be. And for that, I failed.
Early on in the year, it hit home when Victor Lucas, from the Electric Playground, voiced his advice to his (then) unborn daughter:


S'pect, Mr. Lucas. No, not that Mr. Lucas.

My generation has grown up with a very overloaded sense of sarcasm and ironic self-awareness, and if there’s something for us to be remembered by, it certainly shouldn’t be that. I’m striving to be remembered as a badass, not an asshole.

Further proof that I still have great strides to make in Un-dicking is that fact that I’m basing the entire scoring system around my friend Hamza Aziz, who probably doesn’t deserve it. (The keyword being probably.) So hopefully next year, I can work towards either staying silent unless absolutely necessary or being a charismatic, kind, and persuasive individual like Commander Shepard… Actually, scratch that. Don’t be like Commander Shepard.





Be More Social... Network


At the start of January, I had 10 followers on twitter and 25 friends on Facebook. Throughout the year, I boosted those numbers to 98 and 146. It’s not much, but for someone who wrote ONE status update in 2010, it’s quite the turnaround. And it’s not just an attempt at friendwhoring; an overwhelming majority of them are people I really know and would like to remain in communication with, in one way or another. Because of my networking efforts on FB, I’ve gotten to know really cool and talented people, and I’ve gotten to work on a lot of cool projects through people I’ve connected with. It’s also a great place to build up traffic and hype for the things I’ve been doing.


There was actually a big ironic twist when someone stole this from me, claimed it as their own, and I, of course, was butthurt.

A friend of mine was even in a bought of serious depression until a conversation with him, as he said, really livened his day. So when people say sites like FB are a waste of time and energy, my response is that it’s only fruitless when all you're doing posting memes and complaining about the world.





Get Shit Done


This was my biggest goal for the year and it ties in with the previous one. 2011 was spent getting a new job, a new house, and situating myself in my adult life style. But nothing remotely creative was done during that time, for an artist, it was completely soul draining. So in the middle of December, I started a new Youtube account, a new blog, and an effort to produce something artistically worthwhile every week, whether it be a video, a drawing, or even a shitty photoshop job. Within the year, I’ve broke 600 subscribers, nearly three times the amount my old Youtube account achieved in FIVE years. This year alone, I’ve animated more footage than I’ve done in the previous 24 years of my life combined. I’ve made several paintings, helped on two independent games, worked on a few song mashups, and have a shirt coming out early next year. While it has left me quite exhausted, I’ve been accomplishing more things in those 12 months that entertain more people than what most of my peers will have done in their whole lives.

Why a +2 Hamza? It’s the catch 22 of my life, I can never be satisfied with what I’ve accomplished and I’ll always wonder if I can do more.Sure, I met my objectives, but I should always take it one step further.

What if I took on different projects than the ones I’ve been doing?
What about the projects I keep holding off?
Can I work any faster or with more efficiency?


Like I said, the next one is coming soon... Valve Time

Getting to 600+ subscribers in a single year might be a good number in one’s eye, but some success stories have exploded in less time and in much greater turnouts. If I can’t more than double this number by next year, I’ll be very disappointed in myself. While I have to be true to myself and not “whore” myself out to the lowest common denominator and add LIKE/SUBSCRIBE disclaimers to the end of anything I produce, it's no excuse not to aim a little higher... rather than be content in mediocrity. That's not the way Thomas Truong does things. I feel so strongly about that, I referred to myself in the third person.





So that’s it, that’s the most open and honest thoughts and dreams I’ve been aiming for during the past twelve months. And I’m only getting ready for 2013 with guns blazing. Sure, I’ve failed in some areas, but admitting to that and feeling bad about it is only going to prove that I need to fix those issues. But enough about me, what are you going to do with your 2013?