A Chief's gotta hang his helmet somewhere!

news { interview }

The Gruntsbane Video Ineterview is Here! | mrsmiley { December 16, 2008 }

In episode 4 of the PAX Adventure series, I trap Joel "Gruntsbane" Casebeer in his room, and barrage him with questions... all on video! Check out the 10 minute review here, and be sure show it the usual love by commenting. :)

Interviewed in the Septagon Gazette... 1st! | mrsmiley { June 19, 2008 }

I wanted to use "FIRST POST!!1!", but that wouldn't make much sense considering it's an interview... yeah...

The fine founders of the next big thing from the amazing users of Bungie.net thought it pertinent for me to be their first interviewee in their bi-monthly Bungie "news" rag! Check out the latest issue (online or download the PDF!). Be sure to leave some feedback for them, as they are still in the early stages.

Also, be sure to join their official group on B.net to get involved!

DigitalPh33r: Behind Arby n the Chief | mrsmiley { January 25, 2008 }

If you haven't yet seen an episode of the new Bungie proclaimed Halo comedy series, Arby 'n' the Chief, take a break from Grifball and go watch it! In this week's Halo community spotlight, we interview the mastermind behind the smash hit Machinma himself. How does he do it? Read on!

Real Name: Jon Graham
Age: 19
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Occupation: "Video Producer"
Company: Machinima.com

So you work for Machinima.com? That's convenient! What do you do there?

Haha, I don't know how in-depth I can discuss my involvement with Machinima.com but I'm basically a video producer.

I see. So can I ask if it's a paid position?

Yes, but I don't want to go into any further detail than that.

Hehe understood. So how did you get involved with them? Were you there at the beginning? (I still remember the "coming soon" page!)

Well I started making Machinima years ago, then started uploading to YouTube a litte later. Several months after I released the first Master Chief Sucks at Halo, they saw how successful I was and wanted me to be a part of their team.

A true success story. What made you first get into machinima? Did it start with Halo?

Yeah, it was Red vs. Blue that gave me the idea of doing Halo machinima, but I didn't start actually doing it until Halo 2 was released.

What was your first film? Is it online anywhere?

My first real film was Abnormality, filmed in Halo 2, and was my first attempt at serious, more dramatic machinima. There's also an Abnormality 2. They're basically both superhero-type stories, and I'm a little embarrassed because some parts are quite cheesy or over the top, haha.

I have some corny videos on YouTube as well. I feel your pain. So as the years progressed, how did you?

I think I've come along way. I was never a part of any organization or team so for all of my videos, I had to do all the scriptwriting, screenplay, character movement, filming, editing and voice work, so I've built and improved on each of those aspects throughout the years I've been doing this, I can see it myself when comparing my current work with the likes of Abnormality.

So do you still do all the work yourself, or do you have help?

I currently still do it all myself.

Wow, that's pretty committed. So how long does it take you on average to create, say, one of the "Master chief" videos?

About two days minimum for a script, a few hours for live action filming, even more if I'm doing any in-game filming because I have to do set-building in Forge first, then act out the gameplay with up to four controllers. I then go over it in theatre mode with the camera and capture it all. After that, the editing process takes about two days I'd say.

I try to produce a video a week now.

That's intense, man. So do you have a fairly clear-set idea of where "Arby n the Chief" is going, or is it a week-to-week thing?

It's a little intimidating, for the past few episodes I've always had a decent, basic idea prior to making each one, but I always feel like I'm gonna run out soon. Then I just go on to Halo 3 matchmaking and I'm almost immediately inspired for new episodes, haha.

So it's basically week-to-week.

From the
That leads to my next question, What inspires the hilarious antics of the show? Obviously XBL is a plays a big part...

Xbox Live, forum arguments, pretty much any online environment that I can pull a hot topic from and introduce it in an episode using Master Chief and the Arbiter as catalysts. Master Chief is the epitome of every illiterate, non-nonsensical idiot I've come across in the online world, and the Arbiter is basically a representation of me. I just have them argue back and forth about various issues
many gamers can relate to, and I can voice my own opinion on the matter at the same time.

So have you actually run into someone on XBL that closely resembles your Chief character?

Absolutely, I can't go more than like, three games into matchmaking without encountering some child responding to older, but equally childish, gamers with harsh language and mom jokes.

So true! Almost everyone can relate!

Haha, I'm sure, I think that's one reason why people like the series so much.

Well that and the fact that it's freaking funny!
So as you look to the future, are there any rumblings of future projects that could branch of from Arby and the Chief? I know that Arby 'n' the Chief kinda branched off from the original Master Chief series, right?

Yeah. I don't really see the series evolving any further, the reason Arby 'n' the Chief branched off from Master Chief Sucks at Halo was to introduce the new character, the Arbiter, and to get rid of the name instead of keeping it as "Master Chief Sucks at Halo 4", 5, 6 and so on.

I wanted to start fresh since the Arbiter complements Master Chief's idiocy so well.

Well so far it's working, so keep it up!

Thanks a ton for sitting down with HBN. Congrats on your success with this series. I'm sure I speak with pretty much every Halo fan when I say I'm looking forward to the next episode!

Thanks a lot man, it's coming soon.***

***Episode 3 of "Arby 'n' the Chief" is now online! Check it out! Be sure take a look at the "Special Thanks" in the credits, too. ;) If you haven't checked out Machinima.com yet, DO IT! There's plenty more where this series came from!

Etoli: Game Design Artist | mrsmiley { January 05, 2008 }

If you have been on this site at all the past few years, you know about the extremely talented Etoli. If you haven't, remember this from Christmas last year... or maybe this? Yeah, that's Etoli. She worked hard and played hard, and now she's playing and working on a upcoming game at SuperVillain Studios!

Read on for a great interview on some of what it takes to go from sketching in the kitchen to designing characters in games! (And some cool new art pieces to boot!)

Real Name: Kelli Renae Davis
Member name: Etoli
Age: 22
Location: Garden Grove, CA
Occupation: Concept Artist/Game Artist
Company: Super Villain Studios

So how did you stumble across HBN?

Wow, well it seems like such a long time ago, but I remember my brother calling me into the computer room one afternoon just recently after I had started playing Halo : Combat Evolved. He had this website/forum pulled up, and it was Halo Babies. I thought it was the coolest thing having just seen Lorraine McLees's artwork, so I guess I have my brother to thank for that one!

Thanks, brother! When did you first get into art?

I started drawing when I was four. I'd just seen The Land Before Time, and I was totally inspired. It was really funny, because at first my mom didn't believe it was my drawing when I proudly brought it to her. Of course, from that point on I just didn't stop drawing. . . I'd doodle on just about every surface I could get my grubby little fingers on.

And so you became ridiculously talented... how?

Well, when my parents noticed that I was getting better with every year, they tried enrolling me into community college art classes. I didn't respond well to direction at 8 years old, so that didn't last long. I just kept on doing my thing and drawing the way I wanted to on through high school. I didn't think I'd really do anything more with it aside from keeping my art a hobby. In fact, I didn't want it to be anything more than that, really. I was going to go to UC Davis to become a veterinary technician, would you believe that?

Considering that's like every girls dream job for some crazy reason. Yes.

Haha, well that all changed when a representative from the Art Institutes came and showed my art class the graduating demo reels from that year. I was completely floored to find out that there were artists out there who were drawing and animating for a living and loving it. I don't think I realized it at the time, but what really drew me in to the idea of it was that I could become a creative professional. Someone who could shape something new and innovative. And if I could get a job drawing, heck.

Heck, indeed.

Immediately after graduating high school, I went to junior college for a year and a summer to get my GE courses out of the way (a huge money saver). From there, I eagerly started the media arts and animation program at the Art Institute of CA-Orange County with hopes of becoming a traditional animator or a concept artist. I was instantly humbled upon finding myself in the company of so many other talented (and better) artists, but I didn't let intimidation keep me from pushing forward. Eventually, I made it through the three (grueling) years of the program and now just recently graduated with my Bachelors in Science this past September.

And this is when things get exciting. Not even a month after the graduate portfolio show, I got the call for an interview with Supervillain Studios in Santa Ana. They were a gaming developer looking for new artists and fresh talent. Two weeks later, I started my job as a concept artist... and I've been having the time of my life ever since.

That's so great! But I'm sure it wasn't all champagne and roses...

There were times when I had so much on my plate in the later quarters of art school, that I wasn't sure if I would finish or even make it to the end of the quarter. There were a few times when I thought I would break. One particularly memorable experience was when I was a co-producing on an animated short we called Scalawags. We had eleven weeks to start from concept to a fully completed film, and we had a very grand plan for the best 2d/3d hybrid animation the school had ever seen. We were told we likely wouldn't finish, and at times I believed it. It was very frustrating trying to keep a group of 20 artists together when tempers were short and schedules were demanding. But in the end we pulled it together, shared many all-nighters, and walked out with a completely fantastic animation. The strength of our friendship grew the most during that experience.

Sounds like a Disney movie in the making! ;) Speaking of which, what made you decide to pursue art as a career?

I realized that I didn't want to feel stagnant, like anyone could do what I was doing for a living. I wanted to be unique in what I could do, and I wanted to be able to imagine something new every time I put my pencil to paper. The realization that there was actually a demand for such a person was what got me believing that I could make a career out of it. I didn't decide that I wanted to be in the gaming industry, but that sort of just happened all on its own. A lot of things happen like that in life, and that's part of the fun of it all.

Well I'm officially jealous. Any advice to those out there like me who actually have some artistic talent?

A completed education with a degree in the field you want to pursue is always a big bonus. It's not always necessary, and I've heard success stories of the insanely talented who just flew right into their creative professions on pure talent, but having that education is more than just proof of your training and ability. It's part of building a network of friends, mentors, and contacts who will keep you afloat and help you get to where you want to go in your career. It's absolutely invaluable for the animation and gaming industry. You'll learn all of the core software necessary for these kinds of careers, how to build a demo reel and portfolio of your work, and how to make a name for yourself.

Be determined, stick to it, and don't give up when they tell you that you can't do it. You can always improve, no matter what skill level you're at.

Very sound advice. So any future goals?

Secretly, I always wanted to work at Bungie [ed- who doesn't?]. But to be honest, I couldn't imagine being in a better place than I am right now. I already feel like a part of the family, and with the team getting ready to grow with so many exciting plans for games on the horizon, I'm not about to starting looking anywhere else. My goal right now is to get better at what I do, and make the most awesome game that I can share with my friends and family in about a year or two. I'm not sure if or when I'll ever be ready for a leadership role in the company, but that's something to work towards as an artist on a game team, and I'm hoping to build those skills in the coming years.

So... any chance we can get a hint of what you're working on over there?

I can't say much just yet, but two words: Frickin'. Awesome. I'm very excited to be concepting on an internal SVS project, and especially so since they've gotten me working on character design. Characters are my true love when it comes to drawing, and these are going to be some very fun characters to play.
If you've got a wild imagination, a good sense of humor, and a love for kickass, you'll like what's in store.

If you've got a wild imagination, a good sense of humor, and a love for kickass [ed- once again, who doesn't?], you'll like what's in store.

The Halo Room | mrsmiley { June 28, 2006 }

Recently over at Bungie net, a guy by the name of Namloco was featured in a brief article about his insane Halo room. I had contacted him for an interview before the Bungie article, but apparently they beat me to the punch with the release. Oh well, Namloco was kind enough to give us an in-depth interview, as well as never-before-seen pics of this artistic Halo masterpiece!

So, who are you exactly?
Namloco is my gamer-tag I go by, but behind the mask Im just a normal but extremely huge Halo nerd (Arent we all?) Also a full time proud father and husband that lives in the Toledo, Ohio area. Im someone that enjoys a good night of team play and some friendly banter to boot, you know, to let some of the stress of the day roll off my ripped to perfection Spartan chest. LoL. Im by far not well off, but just fit right in the middle class Joe Schmoo range. I like to consider myself a x-generation gamer whose grown up with the industry step by step, counsel by counsel, and has enjoyed the majority of my lifes sunrises through bloodshot eyes after a marathon of gaming.

Ahh... bloodshot eyes - a nerd's favorite! So why Halo?
Mainly because I believe that this game if any, has brought our generation to a whole new level of graphics, game play, and all around fun to the average gamer that cant afford a top of the line computer with all the assorted high-end graphic cards. Lets face it, for the gamer under 18, an Xbox and or a 360 with Halo in it, is still cheaper than a gaming computer! So in regards to Halo, This was definitely the game that changed my outlook on online gaming! Sure, I love the campaign, but upon trying the online multiplayer I was instantly changed forever. I once swore never to pay for high-speed modem or subscription fees just to play games I already owned and could easily play with friends around me. But when I got a taste of the competition and strategy that live players across the world could bring to the table I was instantly hooked. Ive been a complete Halo Nerd since, and proud of it! I really believe this is the game to beat; this is the bar for FPS games. As far as Im concerned if its not Halo its not a game!

Ha, I like how you capitalized "Halo Nerd." *ahem* What made you decide to do something this hardcore?
I decided one day that I need a sanctuary where I could pwn in peace. After all, I do have two small boys (Nam Jr.s if u please!). Needless to say they like what dad likes and make it clear by screaming nothing but enthusiasm THE WHOLE TIME in my ear through every game I play! Though I welcome the support of my online sickness from the family, it does make it difficult at times to concentrate. So thats what hatched the plans for the ultimate Halo room. Plus growing up as a small Spartan I wished my dad would have had a room like this for my friends and I to enjoy. But if anything, this will be a life long tribute from me to honor this game for all the fun and stories it has provided me for the last year and a half.

And what a fine tribute it is! So how was it done?
Weeks of sweat and tears, to say the least went into this creation. What I had in mind would be costly. Needless to say, I did as much as I could myself to save the money! (drywall, trim, speaker system, paint) After I took it as far as I could myself it was time to look through as many books and sites as I could for the perfect background. Upon finding the majestic scene on a magazine (Eddie Smith's original work for the Edge cover page), it was on to the yellow pages!

I hired four local artists to hand brush this work of art on two of my walls, measuring 6ft by 12ft on each wall. Over the course of 5 weeks the ultimate Halo atmosphere scene was done. And to top the whole thing off I had them highlight the entire thing in glow-in-the-dark paint, {including stars on ceiling} and had black lights hidden throughout the room to accent when all lights are off!! Following that came built-in 5.1 surround speaker system to compliment a 20 8ms gaming monitor, two tones of carpet, a time out futon/bed (for Nam during inexcusable late night play) and many rare ebay oddities. I also had a built-in a 20 LCD wall hangable TV into the fireplace, to go along with the 360 thats hooked to my floor rocker chair that also has a built-in speaker system. Also I have a mini fridge in the room just incase I get parched from along battle. To round it off, I bought a 9ft gaming store banner and stand displays off good old ebay. Went as far as buying a skull that looks like the famous oddball to rest on the mantle! Total price of the wall mural was about $2,000, and final price (that Mrs. Namlocos not happy about!) was in about the range of $3,500.

Pfft! You can't put a price on that kind of commitment/artwork! Or... maybe you can... Sooooo... who painted it?
Four artists in total helped to paint this masterpiece. A group from Toledo called Art by Kelly brought three ladies to first do background colors and base coats first. Then one extremely talented woman (I think her last name was Fredricks) to do everything else with tons of colors and mixing throughout the process. She did the Master Chief and all (including my personalized flaming ninja symbol on shoulder to represent Namloco) with one little brush!!! The funny thing is, she had no idea what Halo the game was and probably thought I was nutty for doing it! Keeping that in mind, she was blind to the following that the Halo world brings with it. In the end I think she represented the game well with the respect it demands!

Looks like a fairly new company... hopefully this will bring them a bit more business! =) Tell me. In the end, was it all worth it? (duh)
I think somewhere inside of me a little kid in me is giggling and drooling uncontrollably! Something of a dream as a child came true. And if I had to do it again, I would. Plus the fact that I can share this project with the rest of the Halo community that I spend so many countless nights with is satisfying to say the least. This is my little way of giving back.

Final thoughts?
All in all I can think I can speak for the rest of the Halo gamers throughout the world, that the wait for Halo 3 is killing us, and Im confident that Bungie will score another smash hit. Also Id like to thank the good folks at bungie and lambclan for the press theyve given my room and me! I also like to thank Halobabies for constantly spreading the word and world of this great game. Finally Id like to say stay tuned for halo room part two, as I will try to expand the mural at all costs short of bankruptcy. LoL

Well thanks for the taking time to sit down with us, and for all the pics! I think you can be sure that you are currently on everyone's jealousy list from here on out. Send our regards to your very loving and forgiving wife! =P

Do you have a crazy Halo art project like this one? Or know of someone else who does? Let us know! Send an e-mail to news (at) halobabies.net

Our First Featured Artist: Andrew-sama | mrsmiley { November 21, 2005 }

There really is one thing that keeps people coming back to the Halo Babies community again and again, and that is GOOD ART! But as we all know, the art that gets posted in our forums doesn't draw itself! There are countless talented individuals that continuously wow us with their fantastic art contributions. Here is one of those artists, in the first of many artist features!

*article contains many images*

Username: Andrew-Sama
Real Name: Andrew Minniear
Age: 19
Sex: Male
Location: Allendale, Michigan
Personal Site(s)/Galleries: art-minion-andrew0.deviantart.com/
Favorite Sites: www.homestarrunner.com, www.megatokyo.com, www.penny-arcade.com, www.chugworth.com, www.vgcats.com, www.ctrlaltdel-online.com, halo.bungie.org

Every new artist feature will contain an interview. If you have furthur questions for the artist, leave them as comments, and if the artist responds, I will update the interview with your question! (pretty cool, huh?)

So what's up with your username?

My user name is just a reference and nod to Japanese anime / manga that has been an influence in my work. Basically, it just translates to Mr. Andrew.

Thank god it has nothing to do with Osama... er, so what brings you to HaloBabies?

I stumbled upon Halobabies.net while exploring the fan comics section of halo.bungie.org. Having a penchant for webcomics, I was delighted that someone had created an entire strip about the Halo universe.

How long has art been your hobby?

Ive been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil the right way. So its been a major part of my life for nearly 18 years.

O RLY? *counts on his fingers and toes* Woah, you have been drawing since 1?! Hmm, in that case, I've been doing web design since I was 7 (first time I touched a mouse R0LF). =P Well have you had any training of any sort in those 18 years?

Ive mostly been self taught, and since most high-school art classes are more arts-and-crafts style, most of my art education has only occurred recently in college. These classes, especially my drawing classes have already exponentially improved many of my artistic skills.

What draws you to create gaming art?

What can I say, I draw what I know. Ive always been a gamer, and since its such a major part of my life, its incorporated itself into my art as well. Plus, there will always be a fan base of fellow gamers who will appreciate the work I create.

What do you use to create your art pieces?

I use a mixture of different tools and techniques when creating my artwork. I sketch out my pictures with my favorite 0.5 Clear Point mechanical pencil, then ink the drawing in with Pilot Precise V7 ink pens. After that, I scan the picture to my computer and use both Microsoft Paint, and Adobe Photoshop to color and shade them.

Haha it seems MSP is actually used by more than a few people nowadays. What is your preferred method of creating art?

I like my current technique of the digital manipulation of traditionally created works. But recently (after being forced to use them throughout my college drawing classes) Ive become fond of using charcoal for other more serious projects.

What is your art style based on? (or, who or what influences your art style?)

More recently, my style has been drawn from Japanese anime and manga. In the past, I was influenced by my dreams and especially my nightmares. Some of my older works, which Ive just recently posted on my deviantart page give a sense of this type of inspiration.

Who is (are) your favorite artist(s)?

The legendary H. R. Giger is my all-time favorite artist. His work has deeply influenced my own. Along with the visual styles of Tim Burton, Stan Winston, Jhonen Vasquez (J.T.H.M.), Fred Gallegher (Megatokyo), Yasuhiro Nightow (Trigun), and Kouta Hirano (Hellsing) to name a few.

So, you have any future plans relating to projects/art stuff?

Ive been asked to help illustrate a book of legendary creatures for an upcoming project. I dont have many details yet

Anything else? In short, Id like to thank everyone at Halobabies.net for their support, as well as Mr. Smiley for giving me the honor of being the first artist to receive this tribute. I look forward to many years of posting on HBN.

As do I! =)

Every artist has at least a few works that they are particularly proud of. With every new feature, the artist gets to choose some his/her select works and have them displayed right here! You can view each masterpiece, and read a bit into the mind of the artist who made it!

- click for larger image -

PWNAGE: Definitely on the top of my list, it was the first of my real serious Halo works (the previous submissions had been chibi-covenant characters). This gave me the chance to really explore the material I had available to make as accurate of a drawing as I could. This was also the first time I drew the chiefs armor, so of course that took awhile. An Elites armor, by comparison, was far easier, being more organic and far less complicated. Also, the coloring job took the longest of most of my pieces, as I was still in the process of learning Photoshop, this became a very experimental piece.

Chibi Ecliptz: Another of my favorites, I had just finished the PH34R T3H GRLZ picture and had really approved of the sketchy quality of the style. This was my second and slightly more finessed attempt, and I really like the results.

Red Raptor: This was a very challenging piece. I knew what I was looking for from the piece, but that didnt make the conversion of the Chiefs armor from human-based to saurian-based anatomy any easier. I think it ahs a great sci-fi, primitive meets technological feel to it.

28: Hands down, the most COMPLICATED vector Ive ever done. Working straight off of an early screenshot, almost every full shape is a separate layer. (Layers which had to be arranged over and over again until they fit together properly) I like the results, but the process was incredibly frustrating.

A note from Andrew-sama: The unreleased works shown here are exclusive to this feature.

The Elite is an older drawing, done several months before the release of Halo 2. I had it tucked away in a folder, and just recently unearthed it for this feature.

The Chibi Jackle was the final of my chibi Covenant series, which was drawn, but never colored and posted until now.

- click for larger image -

Likewise, the Jhonen Vasquez-Style Elite, which had been drawn right after the J.V. Master Chief, but had never been colored and posted either.

The Red Master Chief along with the Warthog were both eventually going to turn into a large, Halo wallpaper (Detail), but since I was only being paid 99 cents for the work, I deemed it a waste of time, and have since stopped working on it Oddly, Id never thought of posting it until now