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About Varied / Hobbyist StratadrakeMale/United States Recent Activity
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I have experience primarily in pencils, but with a splash of other media from time to time. I also have some skill for photography.

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  • Playing: Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon
I recently completed the game Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon.

What a story.  When it kicked into high gear, WOW.  And that final battle ... I'd rather not spoil it, it deserves to be experienced firsthand.

But it does remind me that Super Mystery Dungeon is one of the few games with what I consider the ideal combination of factors for end-game epicness:

1 - A "just right" level of difficulty against the final boss.  Boss battles are gameplay challenges, and the final boss should not disappoint in this respect.  It shouldn't be too difficult, but not too easy either.
2 - Victory on the first attempt.  Because receiving a "Game Over" and having to make a second attempt breaks the immersion; you can only make a blind attempt once!
3 - A truly epic musical theme.  Sure, you can have your Ominous Latin Chanting (and/or Ominous Pipe Organs), but I find the best tracks aren't necessarily the ones that proclaim how ominous and powerful your foe is -- the best tracks are the ones that announce how you are about to overcome this threat and WIPE THE FLOOR WITH THEM.

I've played countless adventures which hit one or two of these points, but rarely do I find a game that manages to hit all three in combination.  So today I'm going to list the few games that succeeded -- with a particular focus on the last point, the musical score:

- Okami.  The final boss was long and with multiple phases, but when you finally arrive at Yami's final form, the musical track that switches in isn't the boss's theme ... it's YOUR theme.  Because now you have all the power you need to finish him off -- every move he has can be read, dodged and/or countered and all you have to do is remain on your toes to emerge victorious.

- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky.  Time is about to collapse but you have all the artifacts you need to fix it, and only one thing stands between you and saving the world:  "Dialga's Fight to the Finish".  The song isn't just climactic on its own merits, it concludes the "Time Gear" melody which you've heard at least five different ways throughout the course of the game.  The song also hits sad and melancholic notes, reminding you of the tragic fate that awaits your character even after saving the world.

- Shovel Knight.  Admittedly I died several times against the first form of the Enchantress, but I had no such problems against her final form.  Teaming up with a rescued Shield Knight for one last battle, to a musical score that echoed both Shield and Shovel Knights' respective themes ... again, another battle that demands to be be experienced firsthand, as blind as possible.

- Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon:  "It doesn't matter how small we are!  It doesn't matter how weak we seem!"  We still have the strength to take down the final boss, the will to use it, and a reprise of the "Partner's Theme" to underscore our efforts ... then the boss's armored shell finally cracks, a ray of hope shines bright, and an epic musical score kicks in, right in time for the second wind.  There's no tragic or melancholic notes here, this battle theme is all about courage and hope and the strength to never give up, and if you don't immediately recognize the partner's theme underscoring the melody then there's something wrong with you.


Last but not least, an honorable mention....

- Shadow of the Colossus.  The tragedy that struck right before reaching the final Colossus left me in tears; if it didn't do the same to you, either you've been spoiled in advance (thank you Internet! boo) or you have no soul.  The climb to defeat the final Colossus was long and arduous, but what really drove it home thematically was the music -- I don't remember the piece exactly (hence the honorable mention), but emotionally the tune is slow and sad.  Unlike the ominous orchestrations and heroic songs of previous Colossus battles, here you have lonely piano, melancholic choir, and a soft orchestra to illustrate the tragedy of a doomed hero who's sacrificed everything just to reach this point.


I may reprise this list in the future if I find another game that belongs in this crowd.  You don't come across them very often, but when you do, nothing can replace them.

Got any similar moments of your own?
  • Playing: Super Mario Maker
Super Mario Maker is a timesink, almost in the way that things like Skyrim and Minecraft are....

But anyway.  Some updates on my Mario making front:

- One of my courses got deleted and I have no information why :(  I suspect this might be an inactivity clause on the server, because it just happened to occur at exactly 30 days, and nobody who played it was able to clear it (clear rate: 0 / 88 lives or something).  At the same time there are levels on the server which have obviously been up for longer, even ones with < 1% clear rates.

New and updated stages by me -- difficulty rankings are in my personal opinion:

- D1EF-0000-00C0-CBCD "Choose Your Path" (expert)
There's a certain glitch in Mario Maker that can render you completely invincible.  This level is built around that, and branches into two paths depending on whether or not you exploit the glitch.  And the level doesn't judge you for it (I personally prefer the straight path, but the glitch path is pretty fun too -- especially its version of a Bowser battle).

- 5353-0000-00C6-F0E7 "Free Your Mind" (normal)
An extremely simplified (or "dumbed down") version of the original stage because nobody could beta the normal versions -- requires no backtracking this time.  This also entails a stricter level timer, to put time pressure on the player.

- 591B-0000-00C7-F434 "The Great Mushroom Chase" (normal)
Updated version of this stage (previous version saw only 1 clear in 100 lives).  The tantalizing mushroom now comes to rest at various points which are still -just- out of reach, and you have to bump it from underneath to nudge it onwards through the maze.  Doing so also reveals P-switches, which are necessary to complete the level and should prompt the player to realize that they should be checking blocks for secrets as they go.

- 4FEB-0000-00CF-2835 "And The Flames Shall Guide" (normal)
The editor has a certain glitch that allows you to stack a hidden block on top of another one, creating blocks that are either invisible but real, or visible but fake.  In this case, you have to climb a staircase of invisible blocks over a pit.  Just where are the blocks?  There's a Fire Flower and a Piranha Plant to help you figure it out.

Nintendo also released some big news about an update for Super Mario Maker that's coming next week, too!

1 - The addition of CHECKPOINTS to the editor (shake an arrow sign).  This alone should improve the clear rates on many levels.  The catch is that in order to upload the checkpoint, you must be able to beat the level from that checkpoint.

2 - Stackable powerups (e.g. Mushroom or Fire Flower depending on Mario's current status).  This one's no big deal, just makes things a little more authentic to the official games.

3 - Gnat Attack minigame now features a harder version.

4 - Official courses by Nintendo staffers and time-limited Event Courses with Mystery Mushroom prizes.

And, finally, here are some of my personal thoughts for Mario Maker DLC in the future, in no particular order:

- Ability to make tracks intersect (items on tracks will continue straight without changing track).

- Shake a Fire Bar to make the SMB3 style rotating disc / SMW style rotating flail (size and position are still adjustable).

- Boos in the SMW theme should occasionally make faces at you.

- Ability to stuff items/enemies inside ice blocks so that they melt when hit with fireballs.  If you're designing a puzzle/Metroidvania level, it's virtually impossible to "gate" an area off to the Fire Flower exclusively -- this would help A TON in that regard.

- Attach 1-ups to Yoshi eggs so that if the player has Yoshi onscreen, the eggs yield 1-ups instead.

- Seamless blending of Ground tiles with the start/end grounds (currently only happens in the SMB1 theme)

- Obviously, more visual themes with relevant elements (desert and quicksand are a must).

- More shakeable powerups please!  Shake the Fire Flower to make an Ice Flower.  Raccoon Leaf to Tanooki Suit.  Propeller Cap to Flying Squirrel Suit (seriously, the squirrel suit is so awesome it deserves it).

- Ability to shake Ground tiles to yield their specific terrain decorations (currently these appear at random, but at least you can copy/paste them afterwards).

- Sloped ground tiles.  If the above is a given, then we'll probably need a separate "Slope" element for this.  Maybe something that functions like placing tracks could work (since slopes come in various gradients).

- When you stuff an item inside a pipe it dispenses only one at a time already, but it should only dispense them if your current status differs from the item in question.  Similarly, pipes shouldn't dispense Yoshi Eggs if Yoshi himself is also onscreen (currently you wind up with two Yoshis because of this).

- A mode that lets us arrange decorative background elements on their own layer (e.g. in the SMB1 and 3 themes, the background hills and clouds).

- In underwater themes, shake Dry Bones to create Fish Bones (this is currently automatic, but the editor displays them as Dry Bones instead of Fish Bones).

- Shake a coin to make it a collectible Yoshi/Star Coin (shown and tallied with level statistics).  +1up if you collect them all during a level.

- Not editor related per se, but expert 100 Mario Challenge allows collecting up to five 1-ups per level.

- Water zone element:  Placed and sized like a semi-solid platform.  On dry levels, this creates a pool of water that can be set against terrain or floated in mid-air.  In underwater levels, creates a dry (non water) zone.  In fortress levels, creates custom lava surfaces (beware).

- Waterfall element (shake the water element).  On dry levels, is a background element but blocks and enemies placed atop it (in midair) can attach to it, spawning and descending down the waterfall (SMB2 style) in the pattern they were arranged.  On underwater levels, creates a downward pulling current (again, spawning/pulling down objects that are arranged on it).  On fortress levels, creates a lava themed waterfall.

- Key+padlock element.  They drop down as a pair (similar to warp doors).  The padlock can be placed as its own obstructing block (1x1 or 2x2 with mushroom) or attached to a door to lock it.  The key can then be placed wherever you need it (possibly stuffed inside an item block, or attached to an enemy such that defeating the enemy yields the key).  Keys and locks are not interchangeable.  In SMB1 theme, the key vanishes upon contact (the lock opens automatically) while in other themes the player must carry it to the padlock themselves.

- Attach a Fire Flower to Hammer Bros. to make them Fire Bros.

- Attach a Fire Flower to Koopas and Yoshi will spit fireballs upon eating them.

- Ability to make tracks wraparound if they go off the top or bottom of a level.

- Some ability to set firm scroll boundaries in a sub-area, details unsure.

- When placing a BGM effect (Toad/Bowser SFX), the music remains in effect until the player leaves the area or it is changed otherwise.  Currently it stops if the SFX trigger gets scrolled too far offscreen (which ruins the effect).

- More precise control of sub-area size.
  • Playing: Super Mario Maker
Never mind the headline, but my current time sink is the new Super Mario Maker.

If you have it, I dare you to try some of my creations:

Easy (and/or experimental) -
- 0B76-0000-0073-9FFF
- 4537-0000-003A-C9C2

Normal (tricky) -
- 5EBA-0000-0031-CE7A
- 9566-0000-0042-8EE7
- A090-0000-006A-9029
- 4050-0000-0076-F72D

Expert -
- EDCB-0000-0073-D1D4
- E6DD-0000-0078-2398
Wisps of black smoke greeted a morning sun as its first rays peered through thick clouds over the valley, revealing what yesterday was a lush green forest; today, however, the light found nothing in the valley but blackened ash, soot, and disintegrated ruins of metal and scrap.  Nothing that called this area home still lived to bear witness of the massive fireball that had descended from the sky last night -- not even the nocturnal beasts of the valley could escape the destruction borne down upon them without warning.

Yet, while most creatures would have the good sense to stay away from lifeless charred remains, the scene also drew those of a more curious disposition, as a set of four padded feet trodded quietly through the ash.  It was a large brown fox, its eyes winced half-shut from the smoke-tinged air and its already black legs rendered more so from knee-deep soot and dirt.  Around one pile of burned scrap and another it wandered, keeping its nose low as if searching for something, though only the animal itself could know what -- after all, any bones that might have survived the blaze would certainly have no edible meat left on them.

The creature wove one way and another around charred, fallen trees, charting a general path northwest as the minutes passed, slowly becoming a full hour as the creature continued to find nothing but ... well, nothing amidst the ashes.  Nothing but piles of melted scrap, felled trees and scorched rocks.

Until one of these piles moved.  The fox looked up and reared back as a shifting pile of armor rose slowly from underneath a layer of scrap.  One foot hit the ground first, followed by its counterpart as the beast struggled to balance itself, albeit with a limp on a hind foot.  It was about the size of a wolf -- not too much larger than the fox growling back at it defensively, but certainly large enough to intimidate.  The black plates adorning its body bore all manner of scratches, all of them fresh.  And it looked down on the smaller fox with a snarl.

Any sensible animal would run from the sight of a larger beast capable of rendering it limb from limb -- but instead the vulpine merely stood there, as if paralyzed in fear, doing nothing but growling back with an open mouth, its full set of teeth visible.

Undisturbed, the larger creature reared back, its armored frame shifting rapidly as it rebalanced itself solely upon its two hind legs and it spread long clawed digits from each of its hands.  It took a step forward, its height now four times of the fox in front of it, and it looked down on the creature through a battered pair of orange eyes as it opened the mouth and barked out sounds utterly alien.

"What do we have here...?"

And yet the fox still did not run away, continuing only to stare back and snarl.

The monster took one step forward towards the animal, and only when it swept an arm in its direction did the fox finally run -- but it did not get far before a pulse of light shot it through a hind leg and it fell to the ground, as the larger creature closed the distance with its left arm, clawless, pointed threateningly at the fox.

"And where did you think you were going?"  The armored creature stepped within reach of the fox and then clamped its claws down around the creature's shoulders, shifting its upper body back as it carefully hefted the smaller animal into the air.

"Because, unless I am mistaken, you are packing an energon signature.  Aren't you ... my little maximal?"  The large creature asked, in words that a fox did not understand or reply to.

"Because an energon signature means only one thing -- a robot in disguise.  Am I right, or am I right?"

The fox was in pain, and yet its only response was to keep its fangs bared.

"What's the matter?  Mode lock got your tongue?"

The larger creature brought its other hand close to the fox, and the animal's only response was to snap at it with its fangs, a successful bite prohibited by mere inches as the larger being held it out of biting reach.

"Or did your alternate mode programming take you over?  I thought they patched that centuries ago...."

Ten seconds passed, and the monster grew impatient.

"Speak, damn you!"  The large creature raked across the animal's face with its free hand, a hard blow that drew a trickle of blood.

The fox did not even return eye contact, though it let out a pained yelp as the monster's grip tightened around its shoulders.  Then something cracked, and the animal went limp.  Frustrated, the large monster flung the fox away, its body landing ten paces away and tumbling once before coming to a cold stop, with some ash clinging to its bloodstained fur.

The larger creature shook its head as it berated itself.  "Or maybe this wreckage is playing havoc with my sensors...."  The beast tapped the side of its head with one hand.  "Diagnostic report, please...."

The fox's body was no longer moving, not even breathing, though its head lay in the general direction of the monster and its eyes remained open, a lifeless gaze fixated on the larger creature.

The monster looked back at the fox's body on the ground.  "Right, I knew it...."  Stepping forward, the armor on its right arm shifted around, solidifying into a large metal blade which it trained down upon the fox's body.  "So tell me, maximal, what makes your beast form so important you would rather die than defend yourself?"

The being raised its weapon high in the air, and was about to slash down, but a low, loud growl from behind prompted it to yield.  With shut eyes, it shrugged and chuckled to itself, muttering, "oh, but of course...."

Standing behind the dark metal monster was a large beast, a reptilian behemoth much larger than the two already here, lashing a thick, powerful tail behind it as it breathed down upon the metal creature with an open maw.

"How could I not see this?"  The beast readied its blade and swung around.  "You're just a distraction; all you needed to do was keep me occupied long enough for your backup to arri--"

But the creature found its attempt at a surprise attack blocked even before it could complete the sentence, as it found its right arm clasped tightly in its clawed grip, the sharp blade failing to even scratch its thick scales -- and in another moment the large beast snapped the metal creature's arm clean off.

"...what the hell ARE you?" The metal monster shouted in surprise as it shifted the plates on its left arm around to form any kind of weapon, with which it unleashed several bolts of light towards the behemoth.

The reptile's response was immediate, and fatal.

The creature's four severed limbs now lay strewn widely left and right, while the reptile dropped the creature's unpalatable torso mangled and chewed near the fox's still body.  The behemoth seemed ... sad.  And it gave the metal creature one more bite, severing its torso into rough halves before leaving it to bleed out the rest of its assorted coolant and reactor fluids.

As the reptile walked off into the distance, the fox's eyes blinked, and the small animal let out a sigh of breath.  Then it pulled its four feet underneath itself and stood up, its spine suddenly unbroken and its legs, though bleeding slightly, now perfectly straight and functional.  It looked down at the fading spark remaining in the metal creature in front of it, then opened its mouth, and ... spoke back to the creature in its own alien tongue:

"Silly predacon," she told the beast. "We robots are in disguise for a reason...."

Off in the distance, the large behemoth glanced back to see the fox alive and sniffing over the corpse of the metal creature it had just finished.  The fox shook her head as she licked over her injuries:  Her internal diagnostics had already stemmed the damage done to her organic pelt, but full healing would require at least a day, plus a consumption of raw organic material to fuel the process.

The reptile let out a loud, but calm (almost approving) roar in the fox's direction, and in response she scrambled out of the devastation to the live forests around it, muttering to herself a refrain she'd developed during her first week of duty on this planet:

You will not pick a fight
When the titans are home,
And if you are bright
As a beast you will roam.
Robots in disguise (really)
I just might have a premise for a 2015 Nanowrimo....

For now, all you get is the one scene stuck in my head. :)

Characters are deliberately not named here, but I do already have a name in mind for the fox.
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  • Listening to: Chiptunes
One of the images in my Scraps was randomly included in a YouTube video.  I wonder if anybody will know where that image came from....

See, it was just a random image macro I assembled and posted one day; nothing important that would deserve citing the user.....

deviantID

Stratadrake

Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
I can be found here, Fanart Central, FurAffinity, even TV Tropes, and Nanowrimo.
(especially Nanowrimo.)

I do not MySpace or Twitter.

Current Residence: Moo
Interests
  • Playing: Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon
I recently completed the game Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon.

What a story.  When it kicked into high gear, WOW.  And that final battle ... I'd rather not spoil it, it deserves to be experienced firsthand.

But it does remind me that Super Mystery Dungeon is one of the few games with what I consider the ideal combination of factors for end-game epicness:

1 - A "just right" level of difficulty against the final boss.  Boss battles are gameplay challenges, and the final boss should not disappoint in this respect.  It shouldn't be too difficult, but not too easy either.
2 - Victory on the first attempt.  Because receiving a "Game Over" and having to make a second attempt breaks the immersion; you can only make a blind attempt once!
3 - A truly epic musical theme.  Sure, you can have your Ominous Latin Chanting (and/or Ominous Pipe Organs), but I find the best tracks aren't necessarily the ones that proclaim how ominous and powerful your foe is -- the best tracks are the ones that announce how you are about to overcome this threat and WIPE THE FLOOR WITH THEM.

I've played countless adventures which hit one or two of these points, but rarely do I find a game that manages to hit all three in combination.  So today I'm going to list the few games that succeeded -- with a particular focus on the last point, the musical score:

- Okami.  The final boss was long and with multiple phases, but when you finally arrive at Yami's final form, the musical track that switches in isn't the boss's theme ... it's YOUR theme.  Because now you have all the power you need to finish him off -- every move he has can be read, dodged and/or countered and all you have to do is remain on your toes to emerge victorious.

- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky.  Time is about to collapse but you have all the artifacts you need to fix it, and only one thing stands between you and saving the world:  "Dialga's Fight to the Finish".  The song isn't just climactic on its own merits, it concludes the "Time Gear" melody which you've heard at least five different ways throughout the course of the game.  The song also hits sad and melancholic notes, reminding you of the tragic fate that awaits your character even after saving the world.

- Shovel Knight.  Admittedly I died several times against the first form of the Enchantress, but I had no such problems against her final form.  Teaming up with a rescued Shield Knight for one last battle, to a musical score that echoed both Shield and Shovel Knights' respective themes ... again, another battle that demands to be be experienced firsthand, as blind as possible.

- Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon:  "It doesn't matter how small we are!  It doesn't matter how weak we seem!"  We still have the strength to take down the final boss, the will to use it, and a reprise of the "Partner's Theme" to underscore our efforts ... then the boss's armored shell finally cracks, a ray of hope shines bright, and an epic musical score kicks in, right in time for the second wind.  There's no tragic or melancholic notes here, this battle theme is all about courage and hope and the strength to never give up, and if you don't immediately recognize the partner's theme underscoring the melody then there's something wrong with you.


Last but not least, an honorable mention....

- Shadow of the Colossus.  The tragedy that struck right before reaching the final Colossus left me in tears; if it didn't do the same to you, either you've been spoiled in advance (thank you Internet! boo) or you have no soul.  The climb to defeat the final Colossus was long and arduous, but what really drove it home thematically was the music -- I don't remember the piece exactly (hence the honorable mention), but emotionally the tune is slow and sad.  Unlike the ominous orchestrations and heroic songs of previous Colossus battles, here you have lonely piano, melancholic choir, and a soft orchestra to illustrate the tragedy of a doomed hero who's sacrificed everything just to reach this point.


I may reprise this list in the future if I find another game that belongs in this crowd.  You don't come across them very often, but when you do, nothing can replace them.

Got any similar moments of your own?

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:iconzmij69:
Zmij69 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
hello, i was looking for answer and that leads me to You. i got knowledge, that You may know something about map conerting i Warzone. any help wil do, altought i prefer You to teach me how to do it. thanks for Your time reading it, peace
Reply
:iconstratadrake:
Stratadrake Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I haven't been in the Warzone scene in some time, and even then I didn't really experiment with maps.  Sorry, can't help ya.
Reply
:iconnekrogoblinkon:
NEKROGOBLINKON Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Student Writer
Greetings, friend! Are you still an administrator on fanart-central?
Reply
:iconstratadrake:
Stratadrake Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, what is the question?  (If it involves sensitive details you can Note me.)
Reply
:iconnekrogoblinkon:
NEKROGOBLINKON Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Student Writer
Its moreso a general question, but it might develop based on your answer. I had an account there years ago with some old information on the forums, but I can't remember the e-mail I used for the account, and by this time, even if I did remember, I've forgotten the password I used for my old e-mail (which was about 7 years ago). Is there any way to relink that account to a new e-mail? Or is it lost forever in time?
Reply
:iconstratadrake:
Stratadrake Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Not really.  The site doesn't have a recovery password ("security" questions, etc.) feature available, so there's not much we can do.  Sure, I think the admin tools have account email as an editable field, but as a matter of principle we can't just go doing that for anyone who asks....
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconebkido:
ebkido Featured By Owner May 21, 2012  Student Photographer
Welcome to NaNoWriM0!
Reply
:iconnynyweenie:
NynyWeenie Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello!
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:iconstratadrake:
Stratadrake Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
?
Reply
:iconnynyweenie:
NynyWeenie Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
When will you be posting more artwork? :)
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