“It’s all supernatural.”

I picked up Moonbreaker on Steam over the weekend. The game digitizes the tabletop miniatures wargaming experience — of the sort with big unique “character” units rather than generic groups of spearmen, cavalry etc. — including the painting. It adds voice acting, an audio drama (and other lore) written by Brandon Sanderson, some simple but clever animation of pieces (they’re not articulated but the way they bounce, slide, rock, spin etc. is unique per character and surprisingly expressive) and some nice particle effects.

The combat took a bit of getting used to. Positioning is super important, and there are lots of ways to disrupt positioning. If you’re a simple melee grunt, be prepared for a frustrating chase as you keep getting pushed, pulled, blocked, thrown, slowed, immobilized, or generally outrun.

Of the three available Captains so far, by far my favorite is Zax Ja’kar. Besides his flamboyant dead-guy-hologram style, he has an okay ranged attack, can summon explosive mines which arm one turn later, and a Gravity Disc which is one of those position-disrupting abilities. Strategy guides are calling him the weakest of the three, but I disagree — those mines are terribly good at distracting the AI away from attacking your captain and crew. I find his abilities less situational than those of their favorite, child prodigy Astra.

The painting part of the game is super chill. It has things like washes, dry-brushing, a palette for mixing paint colors, etc. but also:

  • Undo!
  • No mess, no worrying about whether the paint is wet, no brushes to clean
  • No need to awkwardly hold the miniature
  • Zoom in close to see details, and get the brush into places that’d be super awkward to reach. Change the size of your brush easily while keeping the same color.
  • Opacity slider!
  • Automatic masking of sections
  • The ability to save and copy a scheme to make variations
  • Undo!

There’s still skill involved. Probably planning, note taking, making good use of the palette, and doing things in a smart order would help with replicating the cool effect you got in one spot elsewhere on the model. But I get much better results than I ever did painting real miniatures; where I used to dread painting faces, now I’m adding rust streaks for tiny bolts that are far too small to see during gameplay. It’s just satisfying.

This weekend’s recording session didn’t go according to plan, but was a success anyway. I was going to attempt to drone on the bass while playing a synth part over it. What I wound up with was several different takes of interesting stuff from the bass: plucks and scrapes and EBow, and the results of the effects (including a wobbly slow spring reverb plugin and a feedback chain), with the synth taking a backseat.

So I cut together pieces of the takes to create the main line, then recorded another synth pad in one take to go with that. Then I started pasting in snippets from previous tracks, as I have been, as well as recording a tiny bit of additional material to bolster it. There’s an element of collage or maybe quilting to it, but that one-take pad to go with it helps tie it to my usual practice as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.