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Steamtoid (and the making of Steamtoid)


The question at hand is, "What does Steampunk mean to you?" As one who lives for gaming, I see the answer to that question as I do all questions of meaning: through the veil of videogames. I think of Violet Beauregard, who entered the mythical chocolate factory only to ask, "What kind of gum you got?" Throw me into a world filled with mechanical prestidigitation and I'll simply ask, "What manner of games do you possess, dear chap?"

In a world where Benjamin Franklin neglected to merge kite and key to catch lightning in a bottle, video games would not come to be. Not as we've come to know them at any rate. You see, every possible universe has their own Yaniero Gonzalez (but only one per alternate timeline- Don't get greedy). In a steam-powered world as in our own, Niero has got our backs.

He would make gaming possible in that world where sophisticated mechanical technology powers all manner of modern gizmos, doo-dads, and thingamajigs. Niero would make it his business to seek out the games, the entertainment, the tests of skill and daring-do. What didn't exist, he would create himself. When his quest was complete, he would bring it all back to the world at large.

Niero would bring together a community of gamers and inventors; artists and engineers. As time marches onward, his dream will grow and grow. With it did the community and the marvels of their creations.

As impressive as is the first game which you'll find in Mr. Destructoid's Arcade of Wonders, "Hunter of Ducks", just wait until you get to the newly unveiled "Colossal Shadows of the Ancient Gods" attraction.

A full resolution version of this image can be found here.

The making of Steamtoid

This one illustration took me over thirty hours to complete from start to finish. It started with a simple idea: Mr. Destructoid in a Steampunk style. I wanted to go all out with this project. I wanted to put as much detail and shading as I could to make this much cooler than any of my previous illustrations. Maybe even something borderline good.

As I continued to work on it, new ideas kept popping up. Why not throw Colette in as well? How about tying it into games in some way? Colette's addition proved to be a lot of fun. It wasn't just a simple cartoon-y pic.

I actually needed to design an outfit for her. Borrowing all that I could remember from Project: Runway, I went to town with my Steampunk Colette Bennett concept. It was actually the third design that I ended up using. Then, I needed to figure out her hair. This also took a couple attempts.

Then came the attempt to tackle the gaming aspect. How could video games exist without electronics? My first inclination was to go with a shooting gallery. Title it Dunk Hunt and call it a day. I sketched that into the photoshop drawing. But that seemed so dumb. The idea that followed really changed the entire project around. Why would there be anything special about an acient shooting gallery? We've had those for over a hundred years. This needs to be epic in scope. The shooting gallery became a full-on animatronic version of Duck Hunt. This meant much more designing. Starting with the booth itself. I had to study up on Victorian architecture (and found that it's an absolutely horrid style with all of it's needless gaudiness).

Then came the characters themselves.

The really awesome thing about Steampunk is that it's a mixture of Sci-Fi technology that can work and exist because the creator says so, and obsolete technology. You can't just throw something together and say, "Here. This works. Accept it at face value." You have to make it plausible. Extra thought needs to go into the design so that when people look at it, they can get an immediate impression of how it might work. It really gets the brain working on neat concepts for tiny details that people might not even notice at first glance.

So, I'm putting this all together in the middle of a 12-day work week. I used up nearly every second of freetime available to me (not counting the hour that I played against Y0j1mb0 in Street Fighter IV), and even now as I finish writing this, I've been awake just over 24 hours and have been at it nearly 14 hours since I got home from work. Just about everything in that illustration was drawn, colored, erased, redrawn and recolored again. This really is the coolest thing that I'[ve ever drawn (granted from a real artist's standpoint it's not so great), and I'm really proud of it. Hope you enjoyed seeing behind the scenes of it's creation.

In the gallery you'll find full resolution versions of the final piece (perfect for 900x1400 widescreen desktops ;) ) and some of the daily works-in-progress. I want to thank a few people. First, to my little brother, Paul. He gave me an inexpensive but awesome tablet that has totally changed my way of drawing (for better and for worse). This couldn't have happened without him. To Y0j1, who encouraged me to really make this a finished work when I would have been content to stick with Niero and Colette against a solid background. Finally, to John D., one of my best friends for over 15 years now. He gave me a solid critique and I was able to use at least half of his advice (even though it meant completely scrapping the helmet and starting over at the last minute).
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About Haxanone of us since 11:13 AM on 10.23.2007

Occasional contributer to Tomopop.com.

Random gaming facts about Haxan

Legitimately beat Mike Tyson and went through Another World Circuit undefeated.

Beat the original Contra without dying. Twice.

Can land the damn plane in Top Gun and can also refuel in midair.

Can't beat Ghost & Goblins without the level select code and has never lied about it.

Thinks Friday the 13th is a great game even if the physics, controls and weapons are garbage.

Mario Paint caused him to buy a Super Nintendo and largely leave his Sega Genesis behind. He has played it more than most video games and wore down the mouse pad so that the grid only shows around the corners.

Has beaten Street Fighter II: The World Warrior and Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers on the SNES on the hardest difficulty without losing a single round. Multiple times.

Is still friends with the girl who worked at a local game store and sold him Street Fighter II nearly 17 years ago.

Beat Final Fantasy 2 in a weekend when he was a kid, yet can't get through a role-playing game these days if his life depended on it.

Has never beaten Final Fantasy VII.

Prefers pads to sticks.

Likes the N64 controller.

Prefers the Duke to the S-controller.

Doesn't think that Super Mario 64 is all that great.

Got an Xbox mostly for Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. And thinks it's a damn good game. Really.

Swore he would never buy a Game Boy Advanced SP, but immediately broke down once the NES edition came out. (And regarding the NES Classics series, true in-store dialogue: "Dude, are you serious?! They seriously expect people to pay 20 dollars a piece for games they can just downlo...Ooh! Zelda!")

Really liked the first Halo. (Well, there goes my dtoid cred.)

Can rock out Dynamite Rave in Dance Dance Revolution like it's nobody's business.

Played the hell out of Animal Crossing: Wild World and hid that fact from nobody.

Stomped Brad Nicholson at Street Fighter IV, but had to resort to the cheapest of tactics in order to do so. ;)

Thinks you're really, really, really smart. And pretty.

Top ten favorite games (in no particular order):

The Legend of Zelda (NES)
Mike Tyson's Punch-Out (NES)
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)
Phantom 2040 (SNES)
Street Fighter II (any version)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2)
Final Fantasy 3/6 (SNES)
Ico (PS2)
Sin and Punishment (N64)
Picross (DS)


I love drawing, though I realize that I'm not very good. I figured early on that drawing my own header art would help my blogs stand out. Thanks to Destructoid, and to the scanner that Carollelogram got me for my birthday last year, I feel like I've developed a unique style that's distinctly my own.

Outside of games I've got a DVD collection that is exploding out of a 5'x6' shelf (over 400 titles). So suffice it to say that I love movies. I'm a huge horror fan and I host an annual Dusk Till Dawn Horror Movie Marathon nearly every October. My top ten favorite films in order are as follows:

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cativo, 1966)
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
3. Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai, 1954)
4. The City of Lost Children (La Cit� des enfants perdus, 1995)
5. The Apartment (1960)
6. Strings (2004)
7. Heavenly Creatures (1994)
8. The Big Lebowski (1998)
9. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
10. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Music-wise, my top 3 bands are The Pixies, The Velvet Underground and Radiohead. I listen to damn near every genre of music (except modern country. I yearn for the days of Hank Williams, Sr. and Tammy Wynette). Hit random on my mp3 player and you'll get everything from darkwave to hip hop to 80's synthpop. I karaoke pretty regularly. I can't sing, but I surround myself with people who can. Still, you've not experienced all there is in life until you've seen me proper butcher True by Spandau Ballet.

Then, as for the literary interests, my love lies with pulp detective novels of the thirties and forties. Raymond Chandler is simply the greatest ever. And Dashiell Hammett is just fantastic. Lately, I've been reading through Frank Herbert's Dune Chronicles at Carollelogram's recommendation. Two books in and I have to say they're astonishing.

If you do the Twitter thing, Haxan1 is my handle should you want to follow me.

Feel free to friend me to your console of choice should you ever want to play a game of Street Fighter. Just be sure to let me know that you're from Destructoid and you'll get the royal treatment.

Blogs I writed:

Virtual Console Review- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Review- Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop

Front Page
Other Worlds Than These: The citizens of the land of Termina
Community spotlight: Haxan goes above and beyond for the community

Monthly Musings
Instant Replay: Street Fighter II
The Start of the Affair: Solomon's Key

Editorials and assorted articles
Does the Wii have RROD-type issues of its own?
Okay, Nintendo. I guess that we can be friends again.
Niero, do you have any idea what in the lobster milkshake you have done?! (dtoid 3rd anniversary post)
10 things you might not have known about Haxan (but really only 8)
Why Destructoid is awesome: Nilcam is the greatest edition (I honestly can't give Nilcam enough props for this.)
Christmas shopping: Non-gaming, priest dad-style
Bad Dye Job: A Darius Pickman Story
"Congraturation" RetroforceGO!
Nintendon't what?! Now you tell me just what the %#@$ Nintendon't do!

Neat stuff I played a bit part in
The Destructoid children's alphabet book


Xbox LIVE:haxan1
PSN ID:Haxan
Mii code:8490 3559 2301 7665


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