Apr 30, 2014

Enjoy A 10-Minute Preview of The Metroidvania/Dark Souls Inspired Ghost Song

Hot damn has the game got me amped. Back in August developer Matt White Kickstarted his metroidvania/Dark Souls fused action platformer and met success with funding almost 4 times the initial goal. With promises of a deep and engaging combat and an explorable world much like the games of Metroid, the game got me hooked upon first viewing (and apparently thousands of other contributors as well).

With the little snippets of gameplay first provided for the Kickstarter, it's awesome to finally get a glimpse at the work Matt White has put into the game. It may be a bit light on actual gameplay mechanics, but the atmosphere it sets is absolutely topnotch. 

The metroidvania style mechanics are noted almost immediately, starting players in front of their crashed spaceship before traversing the unknown planet (very reminiscent of nearly every Metroid entry). What surprised me the most was how quickly The Dark Souls influence made present, not only with the game's dark tones and combat but the inclusions of NPCs and their almost hopeless dialogue.

Ghost Song is definitely looking like a deep engaging experience with a lot of soul and a whole lot of ambiance. No set release date has been announced for the game, but if you'd like to offer additional help for the game's development you can pre-order it from the website here

Jon Lajoie Makes The Most Generic 'Commercial Song' Ever

It's been a while since French-Canadian comedian Jon Lajoie has gotten around to a new song, and while I've been enjoying his role on The League it's about time to see some new content from the satirical mind. Please Use This Song is every bit as catchy as it is true, providing a horribly generic song to accompany the depressing lyrics about the current state of the music industry. 

It never really occurred to me how overused xylophones are used in commercial music, but somehow this track really emphasized their horribleness without even making mention to it. I don't think I'll ever be able to able to enjoy them in a song again. 

The Art Of Rhads - Castles In The Sky

Rhads is both a musician an illustrator hailing from the Omsk region of Russia, a relatively chilly area of Siberia. Despite his frigid surroundings Rhads' illustrations exude an incredible sense of warmth and serenity which really put a smile on our faces.

Specializing in environment art illustrations, most of his work seems to center around reoccurring themes - Mainly idyllic shots of beautiful skies inhabited by fantastic creatures. Whales, airships, manta rays and beyond, there's a truly peaceful feel that Rhads always conveys in his work. A really cool thing that Rhads also does is create musical accompaniments to his pieces, to further absorb you into each piece. You can check out some samples over on his website, and more of his relaxing illustrations after the break!

Nada Doctor

Matthew Yang's Nada Doctor is an incredible short about an aspiring doctor employed as a temp at a seriously overcrowded hospital. Conflicted between his duties doing simple secretarial work and attempting to do greater good despite his lack of experience, he ultimately finds a way to put a smile on patients faces.

The colorful style of the short drew some parallels to Sesame Street, especially in the sylization and flat color style of the characters and environments. The protagonist himself was incredibly charming in his earnestness and desire to simply help in whatever way he could. Matthew Yang did an incredible job at portraying his ability to animate subtlety in his characters, and all the extra time he spent on cleanup and coloring this 6 minute short (Pretty mind blowing for a one student short).

Apr 29, 2014

The Mega Plush - Episode II

Remember The Mega Plush? Back in late 2013 Matt Burniston put out an action packed short revolving around a fluffy teddy bear showing a gang of sock monkeys who owns the block. The followup, simply dubbed Episode II focuses around a different corner of this seedy underbelly, and one pissed off tiger.

The tension in the city is high as the SOC’s manhunt for the vigilante group, The Mega Plush, wages on. With the promise of a handsome sum of money dangled before them, many business owners have joined forces with the SOC cramping The Mega Plush’s extracurricular activities. Armed with his two trusty knives and an I don't give a stitch! attitude, Mega Tiger welcomes any foe who dares to interrupt his hunt for booze and broads.

Support AwesomeRobo Update #1 - A Thank You To Our Patreons

We'd like to dedicate a post to our Patreons, who have decided to donate $1 or more to support the future of Awesome-Robo. As of now we've reached a total of $20 a month thanks to the help of six loyal readers. We're incredibly grateful for the readers that have pitched in, and look forward to keeping the supporter list growing.

The reason we setup a Patreon is due to the influx of Adblock users that has wittled our ad revenue down by over 80%, all we're asking is for $1 a month to offer us an alternate way to cover our costs. We're in this for the long run, and the price of one soda or pack of gum will help us keep going and motivated monthly.

Our first stretch goal is $100 a month, which will also allow us to host a forum dedicated to art and animation discussion for our readers. It will also serve as an alternate area to submit content and discuss it, and we'll be there to chat with our readers regularly. So please, support Awesome-Robo and be part of the movement that will take this site to the next level!

Sleep - Why Did You Do That?

While Sleep starts off as a surreal romp into a dreamlike state, over time we're ultimately clued into the fact that something has gone terribly wrong for the protagonist. A mysterious duck asks over and over again: Why did you do that? While hazy pills float subtly across the screen.

Despite the stylish appearance, Sleep is about a girl delving into her own subconcious and ultimately succumbing to darkness after engaging in self destructive action. Despite the message of the short, the colorful presentation and poppy musical accompaniment offset the drama unfolding. A perfect mix of sadness and exhilaration, with some mesmerizing visuals to boot.

What If Akira Was Created By Jack Kirby? And Other Mashup Goodness By Mark D'Alfonso

Michael D'Alfonso eats, breathes and sleeps mashups. He refuses to take a character and present it straight up as it is, instead opting to stick in a blender of pop culture to create something that's striking in it's familiarity yet always unfamiliar in it's presentation. The piece of art that really caught my attention was his Jack Kirby styled Akira tribute, which absolutely nailed it on the head, straight down to the worn and torn comic cover look.

While some people look down on fanartists as simply pandering to fanbases for attention, if done correctly you can get some really cool and original takes on popular characters. Check out more of his awesome work after the break.


Animated by Taylor Price, The Cycle explores the naturally occurring cycles of life and death that are commonplace in the wild. Where one animal dies new life springs forth from it's remains, and the cycle continues to perpetuate.

The cool visual style was achieved by animating the entire short using only Prismacolor markers, which lend a somewhat watercolor-esque look to the short. Really liked the fact that Taylor only used lineart in key areas of the creatures, while opting for solid color to fill out the rest of the shapes. The usage of markers also added a pleasant internal motion to all the characters that was a little reminiscent of the rough nature of stop motion.

The Usual

Inspired by a summer spent working at a 24/7 cafe, Nicole Stafford's The Usual presents us with a family being torn apart by a dysfunctional mechanic. In an attempt to get away from the drama brewing at home, the protagonist spends his time away from home at a cafe in a bubble all his own. When his little brother ultimately gets desperate for some attention amidst all the abuse and neglect, he ultimately makes a decision that draws everyone together again.

From a visual standpoint the choice of using all the comic book panels with animations also helps sell the fact that it was a chaotic, dysfunctional time. The series of little frames are as uncomfortable to watch as much as the content held in them, but they really do sell the emotional aspects of this short well.

Apr 28, 2014

Hoof It - A Student Short That Feels Like It Could Be On TV

Animated by Seth Boyden as part of his third year film project at Calarts, Hoof It is a seriously silly short about the mountain dweller called 'Goat Boy,' who sets out to find his lost goat for his family. Similar to Frozen in some regards, he runs into a series of strange companions during his hunt for the goat, including an enchanted tree stump called Piney.

The line quality that Boyden captured in this short is really reminiscent of some fo the preproduction art that ultimately influenced How To Train Your Dragon's distinct look. Ever watch an animated short and think This would probably make a great kid's show? It's rare that we ever feel that way about a short, but Hoof It felt like an actual pilot! The amount of work that Seth put into this short really shows, down to the excellent voice acting and music We're doing our part to make sure that it get's the attention of the right people.

High Tea - Zombies Enjoying A Leisurely Evening

You can't teach zombies class. In this fourth year Calarts film by Tammy Chang, we witness a seemingly civilized zombie tea party go terribly wrong upon the introduction of a brain appetizer. It's all part for the course at a zombie high tea! The light hearted animated short employed a charming watercolor aesthetic for both it's environment and undead protagonists, giving it an old timey look that I really enjoyed.

Mitchell X Mondo X Marvel - A Staggering Amount Of Cool Marvel Portraits

Currently on display at the Mondo Gallery in Austin, artist Mike Mitchell created a very comprehensive set of awesome retro portraits of Marvel characters circa the early 90's. The main tell were the somewhat retro outfits, and the appearance of characters including Ghost Rider and Jubilee. All the characters are presented in a profile stance (With the exception of the always third wall breaking Deadpool) with different colors in the background to help them pop.

Mitchell created  of these in total, so check them all out when you get a chance! We selected a dozen of our favorites for you guys to peruse after the break.

Apr 26, 2014

Supermonk And The Legend Of Holypop

Directed by SupamonksBelieve it or not, this is an ad for some sort of indie French soda called 'Holypop,' although if more ads were this over the top the world would probably be a funner place. Featuring a character called Supermoine (Moine is French for 'monk'), we witness an invasion of some absolutely ruthless, hyperviolent viking marauders meet their match when a glowy eyed monk drinks a dose of his own potent concoction. Stylized ultraviolence featuring a badass monk with nothing to lose? Sign me up for more, please.

Supermoine is back to get the Vikings! Legend has it that a mysterious abbey of the Bugey county, many times assailed by blood-thirsty Vikings, never fell. Its indomitable monks are fearless, they brew a potion whose recipe is still a secret to this day...

The Art Of Heb Mueller - Tinges Of Diesel Punk

When I see the work of Heb Mueller, I can only think of the pieces of inspiration that came together to create the aesthetic of Skullgirls, the pseudo-anime inspired beat 'em up from the mind of Alex Ahad and co. Thing is, Heb Mueller is simply the alias of a Japanese artist with a love of western culture, western cars and a diesel punk aesthetic.

Diesel punk pertains to a severely undertapped genre, combining the aesthetics of diesel technology with retro-futurism. The most well known application of this genre is probably Fallout and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, although diesel punk deserves a lot more love compared to it's oversaturated cousin, steampunk. Cars, babes and mayhem after the break.

The Simpsons "Anatomy" Couch Gag By Michal Socha

It seems like the quantity of high profile couch gags is getting exponentially higher as The Simpsons continues down it's...25th season? Drawing from the talent of critically acclaimed Polish animator Michal Socha, we're offered an impressionistic romp through Homer's brain. Red, black and white are the only colors at play during this interior exploration, similar to his award winning 2009 short called Chick.

This latest couch gag follows takes by the likes of Sylvain Chomet (Triplets Of Belleville) and even John K. of Ren and Stimpy fame. In a sense it seems like the classic couch gag might soon turn into a rite of passage for any established animator at this rate, offering different directors a chance to take their own stabs at the iconic opening.

Raveyards - "Stunts"

Belgian based band Raveyards presented this awesome music video, which employs a fine mixture of projection mapping, overlaid timelapsed performances and multiple other techniques to deliver a visually stimulating visual accompaniment for Stunts. Distorted to no end yet vocally smooth, it's a trip from start to finish.

Valley Of Dolls

Ayano Tsukimi lives in a remote village in Nagoro situated on Shikoku, one of Japan's four main islands. After a boom and bust cycle from a hydroelectric dam, the town's population dwindled from a few hundred to just a few dozen, and Ayano took on a distinct hobby to make her town a little less barren and lonely.

The Valley of the Dolls features a town's transformation into an eclectic wonderland, filled with hundreds of dolls crafted in the likeness of those who've either passed away or left Nagoro behind. The ten year project has ultimately drawn the curiosity of visitors, who stop by to take photos and enjoy the curious visuals. The most telling part of this little documentary is the ending, in which Ayano shares her beliefs on life, death and dolls with us.

Duck Sauce - "NRG"

NRG is the solution to all your problems! Flabby waist? NRG! Headaches? NRG! Exercise cramps? NRG! This latest music video for the bombastic Duck Sauce track channels the spirit of Billy Mays and late night commercials, which always seem to feature paid actors failing at just about everything. The result is a high energy affair directed by Dugan O' Neal. Use in the place of coffee for a similar stimulant effect.

Apr 25, 2014

Takashi Murakami's "Jellyfish Eyes" - Coping With Fukushima

Before taking on his first film project, Takashi Murakami built up a reputation with his ultra colorful, stylized paintings featuring a wide array of strange creatures. I ran into Murakami's work countless times over the years in modern art galleries, which familiarized me with his 'superflat' style, which borrows from traditional Japanese art and post-war culture.

In his directorial debut titled Jellyfish Eyes, it seems that the main theme of the scifi film revolves around an anti-nuclear message, and to serve as an indirect reminder for younger audiences about the devastation that Fukushima had on people's lives. The addition of the Pokemon-esque elements definitely makes the message en easier pill to swallow. Despite that the movie looks visually stunning, and I hope to catch a screening during it's limited US tour, which begins on May 1st.

Jellyfish Eyes tells the story of Masashi, a young boy who moves to a sleepy town in the Japanese countryside with his mother in the wake of a natural disaster. After returning home from his new elementary school one day, Masashi discovers a flying jellyfish-like creature whom he befriends and names Kurage-bo. Masashi soon discovers that all his classmates have similarly magical pets, known as F.R.I.E.N.D.s, which are controlled by electronic devices that the children use to battle one another. Despite their playful appearances, however, these F.R.I.E.N.D.s turn out to be part of a sinister plot that will threaten the entire town.

The Grand Budapest Hotel VFX Breakdown

Wes Anderson teamed up with Look Effects to give his critically acclaimed latest work, The Grand Budapest hotel it's stylized, retro 60's look. Using a mixture of miniatures, stop motion, matte paintings and excellent compositing, the VFX house was able to capture the distinct visual charm that Wes Anderson movies have come to be well known for.

The addition of stop motion characters and the amount of miniature work during some of the scenes was a nice callback to Fantastic Mr Fox. Haven't seen the movie just yet, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. It's also the first Wes Anderson film to ever break $100 million on a limited release.

Apr 24, 2014

Becoming Sumo

This cool documentary directed and produced by documentary studio Salazar, featuring a very unorthodox sumo wrestler from Egypt. Despite being a fish out of water in an entirely new culture and environment, it's refreshing to see his passion and the open mindedness of the 'stable master' who accepted an outsider into their ranks.

Ōsunaarashi (大砂嵐金太郎) is the first professional sumo wrestler hailing from the African continent. Born Abdelrahman Shalan near Cairo, Egypt he first became involved with sumo through an acquaintance at the age of 16. In 2011 he came in third place at an international junior championship. The same year he decided to follow his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and moved to Tokyo, Japan.

Masaaki Yuasa-directed Adventure Time To Premiere Later This Year

A good friend of mine turned me on to Masaaki Yuasa's work awhile back. If you're an anime enthusiast, it's likely you recognize Yuasa's beautifully crazy style from such works as Kaiba, The Tatami Galaxy, Kick Heart, or that one particularly trippy episode of Samurai Champloo (you know the one).

Well it's looks like you can add Adventure Time to that list too, because the Yuasa-helmed "Food Chain" is airing this June. While the episode isn't canon (Yuasa was given full autonomy) and this isn't the first time the Adventure Time folks have completely handed the reins off to someone else (see: 'A Glitch is a Glitch'), I think that his signature eccentricities are uniquely compatible with Adventure Time's light-hearted craziness. I can't wait to see the full episode!

Apr 23, 2014

Rude Foxes By Eglads

They look so damn cute, but don't judge these books by their cover. An adorably rude series of illustrations by Eglads (Erin Gladstone) featuring an eyelash-clad fox with anything but friendly intentions. You can pick up one of these rude fox shirts on Unamee (One of those daily shirt sites) for today only, $12. Check out some more rude foxes after the break!

The Persian Version - Skating In Iran And Beyond

Very cool. In collaboration with Thrasher magazine, Patrick Walner has been creating videos mixing his love of skating with travel into a series of videos called Visualtraveling. This latest video gives us a look at rarely portrayed everyday life in Tehran, and the even rarer skating subculture present in the country. Due to the sanctions imposed by the west, the entire crew shares their experiences with the lingering political situation looming. The trip ultimately takes them all the way to Turkey, with awesome skate footage from start to finish in some seriously unfamiliar scenery.

Fun linguistic fact: Did you know that unlike the rest of the middle east, Iran's Farsi language has characters for 'P' and 'V'? I only noticed this during some travels in Syria and Lebanon where I noticed that Seven Up soda was spelled out as 'Sefen Ub' due to the lack of the characters. Fun stuff.

The Art Of Bthx - Colorful And Mysterious

If there's one thing that's been more challenging about hunting for cool illustrators overseas outside of the obvious language barrier, it's the Japanese cultural norm of keeping a relatively humble, low profile. While it's an appreciated 'overall' trait, it does make our lives pretty difficult when trying to find out more background information about certain artists.

Bthx is one of these talented illustrators that we ran into recently who got our attention with his incredibly clean, lineart driven aesthetic- Yet in regards to info about the artist, there was virtually no information other than an email address (Which we unfortunately didn't hear back from) and a simple thank you for looking! Based off his art he's either an ultra talented fanartist, or a concept artist at Atlus considering the amount and quality of Persona related work we found in their folio, amongst other fan favorites like a stunning little piece of Asuka from Evangelion, which you can check out after the break.

The Long Game Of Success - Why Leonardo Da Vinci Was No Genius

Delve just delivered one of the best video essays I've probably seen in years in regards to the pursuit of success, and the distorted modern definition of it. This analysis of highly successful figures over the years, with an emphasis on Leonardo Da Vinci's tumultuous rise to fame actually answered a question I'd wondered about for a long time.

Over the last few decades it's become a well established norm propagated by the media that getting to a certain age without accomplishing everything is the end of the line. Even today I had a conversation in passing about someone saying that they couldn't believe they were turning 30, which really made me wonder how society had come to stigmatize aging as having a negative impact with one's own success.

This analysis did an amazing job pointing out how even history itself gleans on every successful persons 'long game,' a period of struggle lasting anywhere from 5-15 years before finally having a grand breakthrough. Everyone from Harrison Ford to Richard Branson shared this same trait, and in the grand scheme of things it seems like we've all forgotten about the fact that it takes a lot of struggle, and time to get successful. There are exceptions to this rule of course, but society seems to put a lot more stock in those few rather than the more common route.

The Long Game of Success really hit home with me, especially my lingering feelings after working in a Silicon Valley startup for a year prior to quitting. Everyone talked about their dreams of hitting it big overnight, getting bought out hastily by a large company, IPO's in record times..The pressure of seeing a few getting rich quick, and ultra young was a pervasive mentality that people embraced in that interesting bubble. Shaving off ten years of my life in an ultra stressful environment for a chance to cash in some stock options was cool and all, but I guess after watching this video I finally have an answer: I'm a believer in the long game.

To all our readers who are struggling, yet powering through the hard times- This really is a must watch. Check out part 2 after the break.

Apr 22, 2014

Worth Checking Out - OMORI by OMOCAT

Awesome Robo favorite OMOCAT (who's work you can even buy from our store!) has been teasing at an RPG for a few months now and we're finally getting to see the progress she's made along with the opportunity to help fund it!

OMORI is a surreal exploration based horror RPG, with vibes similar to that of  the 2004 RPG Yume Nikki and the cult-favorite OFF. The story, which revolves around her original character OMORI, a "depressed otaku" who's story is already over before you begin it. The game, using the RPG maker as it's foundation, has an incredible lineup of features including an original soundtrack (which is absolutely amazing from what's been provided thus far), a huge slew of original characters, and even a room full of cats!

As of now, the Kickstarter has already hit about 80% of it's goal in less than 24-hours, essentially guaranteeing a successful campaign. Based on OMOCAT's work, we're expecting an incredibly stylish ad heartfelt experience that many RPGs seem to have lost sight of If you'd like to pitch in and get a copy of the game yourself, head over to the Kickstarter page here here.

OMOCAT has a few of the game's soundtrack for quick listening as well, I'm really digging the mix of electronic and acoustic pieces and I'm excited to see how they're incorporated into the game. 

Gabriel Picolo's 365 Days of Doodles

Brazil based artist Grabriel Picolo has quite a project on his hands, adding a new doodle to his account for every day in 2014. While Gabriel labels each of his pieces a 'doodle,' the amount of detail in each work is beautiful. With many doodles inspired by pop-culture Gabriel Picolo's work pays an awesome homage to some of his interests (including Studio Ghibli, Tim Burton, Disney and many more).

One of the more fascinating pieces of his work is the decision to include some post detail to the work, adding an extra pop by quite literally popping the work off the pages. It's a subtle addition to the work, but it shows a much more involved process than a doodle.

After the break is a few more of Gabriel's work, but I also suggest checking out his Deviantart or Instagram for a daily dose, it's quite an impressive collection.

Tobacco's "Streaker" Is A Bathsalt Trip In Music Video Form Thanks To The Madness of Eric Wareheim (NSFW)

For those familiar with the psychedelic sounds of Black Moth Super Rainbow you've come to expect nothing but absolute insanity from their music videos. With band member TOBACCO releasing a new solo album this May, we've been "treated" with a new music video by the fantastic Eric Wareheim of Tim & Eric fame.

Honestly, this music video is absolutely f*cked  in a strangely hypnotic way. The song's crunchy beats and heavy drums really pushes this into feeling like a drugged experience. There's plenty of nudity to push this into highly NSFW territory, with some of the visuals becoming absolutely insane. Once you get past the initial shock of flopping body parts and glitched out visuals the overall tone of the music fits incredibly well with the songs progression.

TOBACCO's solo work has always included less altered vocals (with the likes of Beck making an appearance on previous albums), and this newest track is no different featuring the vocals of Notrabel. While I love me some Black Moth Super Rainbow, it's tracks like this that really shows TOBACCO's willingness to experiment with his sound.

Ultima II Massage releases May 13th with a super groovy limited edition vinyl around the 20th.

Apr 21, 2014

Shake It!

Directed by Alexandre Veaux, Shake It! is a short film about an insect who draws inspiration from his surroundings to cure his own solitude. Upon witnessing a house party off in the distance, this charming little insect rigs up his own version of a good time using a neglected lamp.

Really dug the emulated low poly art style employed for creating the insects, which gave them quite a unique look. The short was created during a 5 month period at Supinfocom, with the goal of delivering an entertaining short with an unorthodox visual style. I think he accomplished both goals quite nicely.

8-bit Ghibli

Created to mark the release of the Wind Rises back in March (One of our favorite Ghibli movies of all time, UK based Richard Evans created a series of 8-bit illustrations to commemorate memorable moments and characters from a slew of Ghibli classics.

Despite using a pixel density akin to the complexity of an NES, I think these all captured the essence of Ghibli's cinema magic wonderfully. Check out a bunch more of these little gems after the break, and even more over on his Behance page.

The Timeless - An Absolutely Incredible, 64 Kilobyte Animation

Created by demoscene programmer The Mercury, The Timeless is one of the most impressive demos I've seen in years, created at Revision demoparty 2014 in Germany. These parties are competitions with an emphasis on creativity, featuring hundreds to thousands of creators under a roof spending a weekend crafting incredible animations with stringent regulations.

Working under the PC category, The Mercury had to create an entire animation that would fit on a floppy disk. For anyone familiar with PC assets that's a pretty prohibitive limitation, but using procedural generation techniques for geometry they were able to fit this entire piece on a 64kb executable. Considering how much visual information he was able to generate with Timeless, this is nothing short of mind blowing. These demo events are a challenge where programmers get to go flex their coding and creative muscle, and these just keep getting better and better year by year.

The Greek Rocketwar - "Rouketopolemos"

The folks at Epoca Libre decided to share with us a really awesome event that takes place in the Greek village of Vrontados the eve before Easter. Featuring two rival Orthodox churches built on two hilltops facing each other, the celebration involves the congregations of each respective church firing tens of thousands of rockets at each other in order to hit the bell tower on the other side.

The rockets, comprised of wooden sticks packed with an explosive mixture passed down from generation to generation have been around for 120 years now, and the makers spend an entire year crafting and perfecting their rockets. Seeing thousands of rockets get launched simultaneously like that make for one hell of a visual spectacle

The Dark Side of Disney - The Anarchists Cookbook Of Disney Trips

Well this is something I can get behind. Being a bit of a Disney themepark aficionado, I've come to appreciate all the strange quirks about the Disneyland/world illusion. Following having gone to the parks a few dozen times, you really start to appreciate the most minute details and crave a peek at the inner workings of the park. 

Leonard Kinsey's best selling The Dark Side Of Disney delves into even darker details about the park though, offering readers tips on the best places to hook up, the cheapest and unscrupulous ways to get yourself into the park, and what lies underneath the Magic Kingdom. A Kickstarter just popped up hoping to adapt this awesome little book into what I believe will be one hell of an entertaining documentary, offering us a very adult perspective of the park.

The book is divided into four sections:

Chapter 1 is devoted to financing a Walt Disney World vacation on the cheap by any means necessary, be it buying half-used tickets from shady resellers, to renting timeshares for pennies on the dollar from down-and-out owners, to filling up on free toppings at Magic Kingdom’s Counter Service restaurants.

Chapter 2 is all about carnality at Disney, discussing the best places to have sex and/or find people to have sex with, where to score and do drugs on-site, and where to see a kick-ass rock show complete with girls throwing their panties on stage.

Chapter 3 is a hodgepodge of information about the dangerous and disgusting wildlife commonly found on WDW property, morally questionable time saving tips, and assorted scams that are pulled on naïve tourists and on Disney itself.

Chapter 4 burrows below The Magic Kingdom for a tour of the famous Utilidoors, and features interviews with two high-profile Urban Explorers who have gone into off-limits areas of WDW and lived to tell about it.

Apr 20, 2014

Magnetic Micro Robots By DARPA

Darpa's open manufacturing program just unveiled their latest in electromagnetically actuated robotics, and as usual we can't help but wonder what other applications these robots will inevitably be used for in the long run. Mainly centered around a factory of micro robots used to build trusses (A certain structure that can withstand strain), this latest video shows off just how fast and incredibly coordinated these micro-robot systems are, capable of executing movements of up to 35cm/s at a max of 1,386 movements per second, traveling up walls and unorthodox surfaces and coordinating with other robots to perform relatively complex tasks.

The end goal for these micro robotics systems involves them being able to built more complex tech with integrated circuitry, and eventually using ant like colonies of these robots to carry out construction and manufacturing projects. We also could see these micro robots outfitted with surveillance equipment to be used for recon, and let's not forget the potential for sabotaging hardware and infrastructure.

We had to.
Imagine being able to harness the power of an army of ants to assemble large-scale products quickly and precisely from heterogeneous materials in today’s manufacturing environments. SRI’s patented Diamagnetic Micro Manipulation (DM3) technology uses printed circuit boards (PCBs) to drive and control micro-robots built from simple, low-cost magnets that are propelled electromagnetically. This could enable cost-effective production of large numbers of micro-robots that can reliably handle a wide variety of solid and liquid materials—including electronics.

Our vision is to enable an assembly head containing thousands of micro-robots to manufacture high-quality macro-scale products while providing millimeter-scale structural control. For example, some micro-robots will carry components (electronic as well as mechanical, such as truss elements), some micro-robots will deposit liquids, and others will perform in quality analysis. Mounted to a mobile robotic base, a micro-factory will be able to build parts of practically any size.

The Art Of Krhart


Khart is the monicker for Kelley Harris, an illustrator and character artist currently employed at Disney Interactive in the Bay area of California. Aside from her fulltime job she's also provided work for clients including Paizo, Sideshow Collectibles Disney Media and others as well as having her work featured in publications including Spectrum and Exotique.

The best way I could describe her art style would be fluid and organic, with a great sense of flow to her work and a love of incorporating abstract shapes into her pieces. Unlike a lot of concept artists these days, Kelley opts to not photobash at all in her work, painting every thing out like Blizzard artist LD Austin, who also provided Brink with it's cool art style. Check out more of her awesome work after the break.

Apr 19, 2014

The Art Of Post Apocalyptic Street Sign Machetes

Wait, what? This recent video interview by Animal New York goes into the art of Coby Kennedy, an artist currently executing his vision of a post-apocalyptic Brooklyn set 400 years in the future. Working off a narrative that he's crafted in his head, Coby's vision centers around the remaining residents of Brooklyn using collected scrap and repurposing them to defend themselves against invaders and well..each other.

Alongside the repertoire of street sign choppers, Coby also threw in a machine gun vending machine, hyper realistic paintings of the types of characters who'd don such weapons and more to fully round out his vision. The entire thing feels like a pleasant blend of a half pinch Fallout with a handful of Borderlands. Leaning over one of his sharpened street sign machetes, Coby utters: Good enough to kill a motherfu**er! We couldn't agree more.

Free Will - Freeing Yourself From Boundaries

We all deal with boundaries that we impose on our selves. Some of us choose to challenge them, some of us choose to live by these invisible boundaries that exist within the confines of our heads. Free Will by Quentin Pointillart visualizes this concept, offering us a brief tale of someone who ultimately decides to not be controlled by this force that follows him around like a dark cloud.

Created during his 4th year at Supinfocom in France, I especially loved the distinct look that he managed to capture with the short. Using some awesome lighting work and cool custom crafted shaders, he was able to imbue his characters and environments with a really cool chalky look that visually took this short to the next level.

Mickey Mouse In "Cable Car Chaos"

Mickey and Minnie take a visit to San Francisco's Chinatown via the town's iconic cable cars, only to have all hell break loose after the operator loses control. The action packed premise takes me back to the first modern Mickey Mouse short Croissant De Triomphe, which centered around Mickey trying to quell a critical croissant shortage while zipping through Paris in a Vespa.

Oh god I don't even.
I don't know about you guys, but I absolutely think that Disney should create a toy to commemorate the first appearance of Minnie Hulk™. Kudos to Paul Rudish and his crew for also accurately capturing what it feels like to actually make the mistake of biking around the hillier parts of downtown San Francisco.

Chet Faker - "1988"

Directed by Domenico Barolo of Flutter, this latest music video for Aussie electro crafstman Chet Faker (Nicholas James Murphy) is a relaxing affair. Nicholas adopted the 'Faker' stage name after realizing he was getting confused with an already established artist who had his same name. Having a relatively common name can suck when it comes to performing arts, yeah?

I really loved learning about his approach to music, opting on creating 'background' music that actually complements thinking rather than dominating it. I've come to appreciate that over the years as a working artist, sometimes you just want music that doesn't cloud the creative process, just pleasant background music to accompany the groove you get in.

1988 is a great example of this philosophy in practice, offering some mellow, understated beats with a mild vocal accompaniment. Easy listening with a really cool music video featuring whom I assume is Murphy walking through an abstract landscape of patterns, shapes and beyond.

Pharrell's "Happy" Without The Happy

Who doesn't love themselves some deconstructed music videos? The folks at House of Halo took it upon themselves to remove all the music from the ultra viral hit video, that featured people from different walks of life getting down to the undeniably catchy track. With a fresh sound treamtent we're instead presented with a group of people awkwardly shuffling around, clapping and a lot of shoe squeaking. The 'no music video music video' is the best thing to come around since the advent of those hilarious shredding videos

Apr 18, 2014

Equateur - "The Lava"

Motion design collective Kadavre Exquis just put the finishing touches on their new The Lava music video for French band Equateur. Comprised of Romain Nouhi and Charles Rock, Equateur deliver a brooding breed of electro-pop sound that I instantly fell in love with.

Four months in the making, the visual landscape of Lava is an epic affair featuring long shots of monolithic landscapes and a really cool narrative about a race of sentient robots hunting down a dormant human specimen, the last of it's kind. Using a really clean CG look executed with bold shapes, we witness the arrival of the harbinger of a new era. Fantastic music video from start to finish, and an awesome introduction to a band worth checking out.


Squeezie is a collection of visually stimulating vignettes, rife with abstract imagery and patterns overlaid over dissonant dialogue. It's like the folks at Ploomers set out to recreate the essence of a corrupted or partially downloaded video, part of the glitched out aesthetic that's taken on a life all it's own in this day and age.

Apr 17, 2014

The Art Of Totto - Path Of The Fanartist

Totto is a self proclaimed fan artist from Tokyo, who set out to learn painting and drawing in order to pay tribute to some of his favorite characters and franchises. Like many other young artists currently rising to visibility in Tumblr, Twitter and other social platforms, fanart tends to speed up the process of getting a following, more so than original work. Part of me wishes that wasn't the case, but I won't deny that it's fun to see different people's takes on iconic characters from movies, cartoons, anime and so on.

Nintendo is where Totto's fanart allegiance lies, with a bunch of cool pieces dedicated to Zelda, Animal Crossing and Super Smash Brothers, with a comparable amount of original work thrown in for good measure. With nice, warm color palettes and a visual style that resembles retro videogame concept art, Totto's an artist worth keeping an eye out for. More of his work after the break.

"Alien: Isolation" And The Lo-fi Scifi Aesthetic

At this point I'm convinced that the Aliens franchise has been cursed, as the last half dozen videogame adaptations of the franchise have typically been bad at best to absolutely atrocious. Alien: Isolation seems like another attempt to give the series a little justice, taking the retrofuturistic world of the original 1979 feature and adapting it into something a little more in tune with the vision of the original.

My main hopes is that they don't deliver an experience that is 6-8 hours of straight jump scares, hopefully opting for a more subtle, lasting tension that was present in the original feature. While the graphics look nice, a source told us that the current footage is still 'gameplay target' or prerendered footage that captures the mood they want to accomplish. Once October rolls around we'll hopefully get a better idea of how this game will play, but so far we're cautiously optimistic.

Omega - Scifi And Stop Motion Collide

Omega is an epic stop motion short directed by Eva Franz and Andy Goralczyk, fusing high-end CGI and photographic images, miniature sets and traditional stop-motion puppet animation to narrate a post apocalyptic tale about evolution. If there's one subset of scifi we don't see often enough, it's the bio-mechanical kind that artists like Geiger and Tsutomu Nihei have popularized over the years. At close to 20 minutes long, Omega is a highly atmospheric journey that takes us across various barren landscapes, inhabited by bizarre creatures and relics of a long extinct civilization.

The end of evolution awaits in a wasteland dominated by bizarre trash formations, dust and rock. From the scattered remains of a long forgotten culture an electric ecosystem rapidly evolves into the ultimate form of existence...

The mechanical life form Ohm inhabits a bleak and devastated planet. The thousands of mechanical creatures of this world share a single cycle of energy. In this cycle, Ohm is a rogue element. His nature is to devour and absorb others. When one day a gargantuan foreign object appears in the skies. Drawn in by mysterious creatures of light, the Ohm tracks them across the planet, changing the known order of matter, time and space.


Directed by Loris Pilorget, Graine (French for seed) is an awesome little fantasy tale about an afflicted wanderer seeking a cure for his ailment. Similar to Princess Mononoke's prince Ashitaka, a corruption is spreading throughout his body, which leads him to wander towards a holy mountain in an attempt to find solace.

Really dug the watercolor look that Pilorget captured and the dialogue less narrative, which is all played out using expressions. Graine ultimately leaned a bit on the morbid side regarding it's conclusion, but the overall aesthetic brought back reminders of Zelda and Team Ico games.

The Art Of Rythm

Our lives revolve around rythms and patterns. The rythm of our heartbeat, the routines that we follow on a daily basis, the rythm we take on during a work day. We all set and maintain a certain tempo in life, and any event that leads to a disruption of that rythm is immediately noticed. This video by Dark Rye goes into the art of rythm, as well as exploring the philosophies of rythms through the eyes of a DJ who crafts them on a daily basis.

DJ Spooky, a Washington, DC-born electronic and experimental hip-hop musician whose work is sometimes classified as illbient or trip-hop, as he is a DJ who keeps the party moving with infectious beats and mixes.

Apr 16, 2014

Skip The Use - "Nameless World"

Directed and animated by Arthur De Pins for the electro funk outfit known as Skip The Use, Nameless World is a colorful romp into a very strange world inhabited by just about every supernatural entity in the book. Mummies, witches, vampires, zombies and pretty much everything in between.

The music video also serves as a promo for Zombiellenium, a comic centered around a theme park run by monsters only. Similar to Fables in the way that they took classic fantasy characters from literature and put them all under the same roof, it's absolutely worth a read. Arthur De Pins did an awesome job translating his designs into 3D, as well as offering some backstory as to how these cast members made their transition into a more undead state. Loved it.

Versatile - Finding Hope In Unlikely Places

When you find yourself in a rut, sometimes it's an external force that brings you back up to a better place. That is the premise of Versatile, a light hearted short by Margaux Lahuppe created as part of her fourth year at Supinfocom. Using a simple CG style that I really enjoyed, Versatile opens up with a girl heartbroken over a break up, ultimately choosing to end her life on railroad tracks.

Yet just when things are close to ending on a negative note, an unlikely force helps her change her mind. Overall it was a very cute short with a positive message, and I really enjoyed the Animal Crossing vibe I got from the female protagonist (Must be that triangle nose!).

The Art Of Jungah Lee - South Korean Scifi

Jungah Lee's work took me back to the early days of anime, when the style of choice was all about hyper realism, cyberpunk and gritty scifi. The image above, simply titled 'return to the base' just evoked a lot of memories, especially that of reading Hiroki Endo's underrated Eden, which is still one of my favorite all time 'hard' scifi mangas alongside Mamoru Oshii's Ghost In The Shell.

Lee's work is highly experimental, and also typically presented in an unfinished state which made it really stand out during our daily art search. While some of his refined pieces show a masterful understanding of rendering and a painterly aesthetic, it's the looser work that was the most fun to look through. Using all the tools at his disposal, including Zbrushing, heavy smudging and some truly poppy color palettes, it's cool to see him experiment with new techniques on a piece by piece basis.

If anything his work just leaves me wanting more. There's a nice scifi/anime glaze to all his pieces that's slightly retro feeling, but also refreshing considering the recent hyper realistic military trends we've been witnessing in the concept art scene lately. Check out more of his awesome work after the break.

Legos + Acid House = Play House

Playhouse is a really curious automata developed by Alex Allmont, featuring dozens of mechanisms built in Lego Technic that generate slow acid house music. Powered by an algorithm that recreates the distinct, programmed squelched 4/4 beat, different parts of the mechanisms are triggered to layer complexity to the track and modulate simple bass patterns. Over 6 minutes you'll witness the functions of all the various systems of this curious device, which was commissioned for the UK's Audiograft festival.

Apr 15, 2014

CGHub Is Gone - An Industry Standard For Concept Art Disappears Overnight

The entire concept art community has been shocked to learn that CGHub, a website born out of necessity following the downfall of Conceptart.org a few years ago is now gone forever. Following a DDOS attack and a hack that redirected the website to Cghugs.com, the website made the announcement that it would be closing it's doors for good yesterday.

The entire mess spawned from a subset of users who were incredibly vocal and unhappy with the website announcing that it would roll out premium accounts to raise funds for the website, which had never charged it's users for their service. I actually paid for an account willingly as they've allowed us to discover many talented artists to feature over the years, so giving something back was warranted.

What surprised us was that the roll out of a premium feature prompted some serious backlash that we witnessed on social media by high profile artists, accusing CGhub of having 'sold out' among some truly negative language pointed their way. Could the premium featured have been better though out? Sure. Was the reaction completely blown out of proportion? Absolutely.

A few days ago we received an unexpected refund for the premium account, around the same time the website went down in an apparent hacker attack. While people were initially confused at first, rumors started to circle about the fate of the website following rumors of financial difficulties and the founders being fed up with the attitudes some users had taken towards them making money off the website. If anything this entire experience just saddened me, as the discussions I saw on social media just showed off how self entitled some artists I really admired were. I won't give out names but we've featured quite a few of them on AwesomeRobo in the last few years.

What now? We're left with a complete void in the concept art website scene that needs to be filled. A once amazing treasure trove of networking and beautiful art gone. While I wish they'd taken another approach other than just unexpectedly pulling the plug, I can understand why they did after having their hands bit by a community that unfortunately expected a website to fund itself with money that appeared from thin air. The failure of users to acknowledge that these websites have staff and hosting costs to pay was a truly unfortunate one.

Even after the closure of CGhub, users took to attacking the team that supported the website, which was an absolute catch 22 moment. It kind of reminded me of the childish response that users had to Wikipedia shutting down for a day in support of an anti-SOPA protest last year. This is why we can't have nice things.

"Each Other" - A Korean Animated Short Film

Directed by Korean animator Lee Kyu-Tae (Aka Kokooma), Each Other is a very abstract animated short following a rather sullen man who finds himself cast into oblivion. The short is left very open for interpretation and I'm sure everyone will get something  different out of it, but it's quite successful from a visual standpoint.

To offer my own personal take, I saw Each Other as a tale of a man dealing with his loneliness. The large shadow creature that inhabits his home is a visual representation of that force, as well as it's constant attempts to grab him and keep him from leaving. Upon giving up all hope he's ultimately captured by a predatory bird, and rejects the attempts to be saved by his loneliness. Accepting his fate, he is eaten alive but ultimately resurrects following a spiritual journey. Returning as a new man to his original home, he realizes that this embodiment of loneliness still awaits him and ultimately decides to head off on a new path rather than embrace his past.

Queens of the Stone Age - "Smooth Sailing"

Work till you drop, party till you black out. That is the mantra of the Japanese salaryman, featured front and center in this new music video directed by Hiro Murai for Smooth Sailing, taken from last year's 'Like Clockwork' album. Featuring Josh Homme as the captain of a ship headed straight to debauchery, things slowly begin to spiral out of control as the evening progresses.

While the lyrics of the song are slowly spelled out on a dimly lit Karaoke screen, a steady flow of alcohol and drugs eventually lead to some truly unexpected events. The end result is something that would fit perfectly in a  twisted Japanese adaptation of The Hangover.


Created by François Heysen over a 6 month period at the Supinfocom animation school, Bat.tutty.ry is a scifi short that emphasized visuals coupled with a simple narrative. Featuring a robot trudging through a barren wasteland in the hunt for a power source to recharge it's waning energy reserves, it unexpectedly crosses paths with a dormant war machine.

Despite the minimalist environment, Heysen did a really awesome job with the modeling and texturing of the robots. He recently also posted a modeling and animation showreel, which you can check out after the break.

Apr 14, 2014

I Am Alone, Walking On The Straight Road

Masanori Okamoto created this rather curious papercraft animation piece to commemorate the work of Taneda Santoka, one of Japan's most famous Haiku authors. While on an initial viewing I was a tad perplexed by what I saw, witnessing a man having a drink and slowly exhibiting all the subtle mannerisms an inebriated individual would, I slowly came to realize what this was all about. Aside from being a technically impressive short by Okamoto, who setup an experimental system for emoting with a cutout paper method, the short embodies everything that Santoka himself lived for.

Savoring the moment. Enjoying one's saké. Realizing that there is no destination, only the journey. Santoka embraced an unusual pursuit of achieving enlightenment, choosing to walk to achieve his own version of Zen. Over the course of 28,000 miles walked by foot he would record his thoughts and perceptions regarding everything he encountered on his way, which would ultimately immortalize him as one of Japan's literary treasures.

Club America - "All The Things I've Done

Brazilian synthpop outfit (Comprised of brothers Andy and Bruno Alves) Club America invited animator Daniel Bruson to create a music video for their latest and greatest, a collaboration with the Texas based rapper Da Deputy. The video itself is a fever dream of 80's tinged animated visuals, which are as addictive as the creative sound that the Sao Paulo based band has formulated since their debut.

"Cult of the Wind" Has Just The Right Amount Of Quirkiness For An Arena Shooter

There has been a gaping hole in my life and I wasn't really sure what it was until arena shooters started to make a sudden comeback. Growing up on the likes of Unreal Tournament, Quake and Tribes there really isn't anything quite like the adrenaline boost  you get from the fastpaced frenzy of a solid arena-FPS.

North of Earth's newest project Cult of the Wind is definitely something to keep an eye on, if only for it's awesomely unique premise. The game takes place in an unknown place and time following a cult which worships the wreckage of ancient planes, which leads them to mimic the ancient dogfights of the past. It sounds like an absolutely insane concept, but it actually draws a lot of inspiration from cargo cults, a real life group of people. 

While the concept in itself sounds goofy enough, the true quirkiness comes from the game's pretend fights. Players will compete in ritualistic multi-player human dogfights, complete with imaginary weapons, pretend explosions, and airplane noises made with their mouths" implying that all weaponry in the game is sound based rather than visual. It sounds incredibly ridiculous, but I'm all for it.

Along with the game's multi-player, the game also sports a fancy level editor, allowing players to easily manipulate the world by dragging, dropping, and stretching objects as they see fit. The level-editor looks solid enough, and will really lend a hand in keeping the game's content flowing (something Tribes failed to accomplish). In the end though, any game that lists one of it's selling points as "weird noises" deserves my money, I'm incredibly excited to see how this game pans out. 
To vote for this game on Greenlight head over here and keep an eye out for it to drop!

Izbor - A Bite Sized Scifi Thriller

Space and loneliness- two things that simply seem to go hand in hand. Space and madness? By pop culture's defintion, inseparable. Created as part of Mehdi Aouichaoui's fourth year project at the Supinfocom animation school, Izbor plops us into a crucial moment of a scifi expedition gone horribly wrong. Clutching a photo of someone dearly beloved, we witness an astronaut's final moments of utter fear and hopelessness.

Izbor is noteworthy for Mehdi's usage of a hybrid style, mixing elements of 2D (Like the astronauts head) with CG environments. From a narrative standpoint the choice of making the creature a completely organic, 2D entity also strengthens the fact that it's an otherworldly, alien entity in this vessel. Short but sweet, a fun romp through a variety of scifi tropes.

What Lies Below? A New Glimpse At Capybara's Upcoming Roguelike

What lies Below? That is the question that the folks at Capybara games have been asking for a few months now, ever since their triumphant reveal at last years E3. The same company behind the beautiful Sword And Sorcery adventure game and the upcoming Super Time Force action puzzle shooter, it looks like we'll be getting more atmospheric exploration with rogue like elements this time around.

This latest trailer for Beyond, the first one since it's unveiling close to a year ago is more of a musical one- Giving us a taste of Jim Guthrie's original score while offering us a glance at some of the environments. What I found really curious was the ultra zoomed out perspective that the game will use, offering players a nearly god like view of the action. If death lurks around every corner, I don't mind this design choice..Zooming out the camera nearly seems like it might end up ramping up the tension significantly. Below will be releasing sometime this year on PC and Xbox One.

Apr 12, 2014

Black Desert Online - A Korean MMO That Has The West's Attention

I've had a chance to play a wide range of MMO's over the years, never fully delving into them but limiting myself to 2-3 week playtests to get a feel for what each game had to offer. And during this time I really got a chance to develop an appreciation for Korean MMO's especially, which time and time again seemed to be a few steps ahead of their western developed counterparts in regards to gameplay ideas and innovations.

One of my most memorable experiences was playing Granado Espada a few years back, which allowed a player to control three characters simultaneously in a baroque styled setting (The awesome character concepts by Limha Lekan drew me in). My only frustration was that there was a generalized stigma against any Korean MMO for being 'too grindy,' a reputation that a few games managed to cast on that entire scene as a whole.

In the last few years it seems like developers have taken note of this reputation and have been trying to address it with newer games, including NC Soft's upcoming Blade and Soul and Black Desert Online. The latter recently caught the interest of the western gaming community for it's efforts to truly evolve online combat with a more dynamic action oriented approach rather than the rather outdated 'roll' based systems featured in games like World of Warcraft.

Black Desert is just one of many next gen MMO's being developed overseas, and hopefully this game will be able to make a transition to Western shores once it's released. I've seen so many games with truly amazing potential absolutely fall flat due to bad marketing, but hopefully this will be one of the exceptions. If you're in the mood to get a feel of how this game might play while we wait for Black Desert to released, I'd recommend giving the free to play Vindictus action MMO a shot (The only Korean MMO developed on Valve's source engine).