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AllicornUK
Allicorn
Artist | Professional | Varied
United Kingdom
"Allicorn": a composer, artist, animator, writer, software developer and general busybody from the rural southwest of the UK.

Catch me on Twitter AllicornUK

I work for Puppygames, makers of Revenge of the Titans and other jolly computer games. I also help out at the #1 H.P.Lovecraft & Call of Cthulhu fan site, Yog-Sothoth.com and produce a boatload of music, including Lovecraft-inspired soundtracks, cheery trance music and music for various videogames. You can see more of my bizarrely varied output on my own website at Allicorn.com.
Interests

A few weeks ago, Puppygames was invited over to Belfast to exhibit at Q-Con. It took just a fleeting instant for Caspian and I to decide that this was a convention not to be missed. Just look at the stuff they had going on!

So, laptops in tow, a massively delayed flight lofted us into Belfast International in the early hours of the morning the day before the show. The Q-Con team put us up in the fantastic student accommodation at Elms Village.

The convention itself is a sprawling affair starting Friday evening (though crowds were amassing outside much earlier in the day) and running right through until Sunday night with events spread over several large buildings.

A vast cathedral-like hall housed the roleplaying crowd, packed to capacity with tables and - from what I saw - every table filled non-stop all weekend. I'm a bit of an H.P.Lovecraft nut myself; I run Call of Cthulhu for my local group from time to time and help out over at best-Lovecraftian-gaming-site-on-the-Internet Yog-Sothoth.com, so it was particularly gratifying to see CoC dominating a large part of the gaming schedule even if time constraints meant I didn't quite manage to get in on a game myself.

Another huge space hosted wargaming and the QUB Dragonslayers made their vast selection of board games current, past and antique available to be borrowed and played during the convention. Game of Settlers of Catan anyone?

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Back in the main building we set up in the Indie Arcade area, itself part of a much larger videogaming zone within the con where a host of Xboxes, Playstations, Wiis (is that a word?) and classic consoles were hooked up to projector screens and great collection of games were playable.

Particularly impressive to an old twitch-warhorse like myself was the entirely Rasberry-Pi-powered Quake 3 tournament.

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Five Q3A instances in a 3D-printed chassis - this is geekery of the highest order and was bloody impressive!

There were actually 8 playable Rasberry-Pi-Q3A units there and another acting as a spectator console.

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Weirdly, one of the most popular consoles there was an ancient 1970's Binatone. This thing is nearly as old as me and features two tiny twisty "paddle" controllers and a few variations of very simple, blocky, bat-and-ball games that all pretty amount to "Oh, it's Pong!" To see this old beastie hooked up to a whopping flatscreen was quite something and the thing was in near constant use all weekend.

Most of all, I think it made a real positive statement about "casual" gaming. Folks took one look at it and understood what they needed to do to have 2 minutes of fun - and there was a lot of hilarity around the thing. The graphics were - obviously - just colored squares, the playfield pared right down to bats, ball and score numbers. But the sublime accessibility of it sucked people in and the simple, energetic feedback meant everyone finished up entertained.

Here's Batman and the Bride playing the thing, because, that's a thing that happens at Q-Con:

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And whilst we're on the subject of cosplayers: cosplayers everywhere! If you're into it, this show has a very large (and apparently annually growing) cosplayer presence. You won't believe how many Finns and Fionas there were (hey, it's a pretty easy costume) but also a whole host of anime, videogame and comic characters and a more unusual costumes too right up to this epic quadsuit (Carrie McAlinden performing, I believe) pictured below.

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On the final day, a fantastic cosplay masquerade ran, allowing all the costumed attendees to show off on stage. Quite a sight to see. Although, some of the very, VERY brief appearances - as folks skipped across stage in apparent terror - made me wonder: if you're going to go out in public in an outrageous costume, possibly with neon spiky hair and an oversized foam battleaxe... why so shy? You're at a roleplaying convention folks: the locals don't think you're crazy - they think you're awesome - so strut it!

Anyhoo... most of my time there through the day was spent tending our stand at the Indie Arcade zone where we showed off our games and chatted with the other teams present. Ultratron in particular got a lot of play (it always catches folks' eyes, just look at it!):


<iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kKkIYQc55ZE?rel=0" width="560"></iframe>


Predestination from locally based Brain &amp; Nerd was particularly interesting. They brought tons of beautiful concept art for folks to browse through and it created a great talking point. It's a giant, galaxy-spanning empire-building game, it's on Greenlight, check it out.

Throughout the show there were talks and panels, of which Caspian presented a few. I think everyone was suitably entertained but it does appear he got a reputation as "that sweary indie dev". One panel I wasn't going to miss featured legendary chiptune artist Chipzel.

The whole panel had interesting things to say about success in music and in videogame music in particular, the importance of constant networking and online connections. "Learn to say 'yes' to everything", was one of Chipzel's bits of advice and I'd say my experience bears that out too. If someone offers you some exposure for your creativity then just GRAB it. They want music for their game? Sure! They want sound effects for their mobile app? No problem! Every time you work with people, they talk about you, and more and more folks learn that you're the go-to guy for whatever it is they need. You can't magic up success out of nowhere, but you can keep gradually stacking the odds in your favor with every bit of work you do and every contact you make.

Chipzel, in case you didn't know, uses Gameboy as her instrument of choice. An instrument that comes with some very simple sound hardware and a particularly clunky and intractible old-style "tracker" music editor. The panel ended with her composing a simple demo tune on the spot so that the audience could see what a miracle it is to have coaxed great music out of such an arcane process. I only recently migrated away from trackers myself (to FL Studio, as it happens) after basically spending the last 20 years in MED, ProTracker, ModPlugTracker and Jeskola Buzz and so, seeing a tracker maestro like Chipzel at work in the Gameboy emulator was a real treat.


Don't even get me started on the massive trade floor. I bought some lovely pony art and a very striking notebook for my girlfriend to use in making notes on her second book. One of the Predestination devs came away with a crazy haul of out of print AD&amp;D stuff for just a few quid. Well worth a visit.


Well, you can probably tell by the ridiculous way that I've rambled on that I thought Q-Con was an absolute blast. Next year is the con's 21st, I have a feeling it's going to be quite a birthday.


Huge thanks to Greg, Angie and Andy for getting us involved!

  • Listening to: Anton Riehl
  • Reading: Express Diaries
  • Watching: Bravest Warriors
  • Playing: FEZ
  • Eating: Cupcakes! Good ones. Not evil ones.
  • Drinking: Pimms

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Comments


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:iconquantum-philosophy:
Quantum-Philosophy Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013
Hi!
The Dream Quarry used some of your tentacle stock.
Reply
:iconcharkboy:
charkboy Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013
Hi Allicorn! Just wanted to link you to some images I did using some of your stock. Thanks!!
[link]
[link]
[link]
[link]
Reply
:iconallicornuk:
AllicornUK Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Professional General Artist
Been away - back now - had to reply to this. These are terrific, great job! :-)
Reply
:icondjgoldnf:
DJGoldNF Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
My My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Wallpaper Pack has finally been released for all you bronies out there :D
ManymanyMANY thanks to all the artists who gave me permission to use their amazing art in my pack!
The pack itself has over 4800 Wallpapers in it currently :O :O !
I uploaded the pack via torrents so make sure you have a torrent downloader ^-^
finally here is the link to the pack on my DeviantArt account:
[link]
byeee ^ 3^ /)
~
TAH DJ
Reply
:iconsjart117:
SJArt117 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Brit brony? Same! :iconelectricbrohoof1plz:
Reply
:icontakuyarawr:
TakuyaRawr Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
You might want to know this person stole some of your art. [link]
Reply
:iconallicornuk:
AllicornUK Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks for pointing that out :-)
Reply
:iconthestaticstalker:
TheStaticStalker Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, I saw the sprites of the mane 6 you made, and i was wondering, can you make one of derpy nao?
Reply
:icontamagotchi:
tamagotchi Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Reply
:icononemariobro:
onemariobro Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I saw a link to your best pony race and I must say its quiet inpressive along with your other works
Reply
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