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Featured GAME [Interactive Comic] Old Republic Paint Adventures

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Paint Adventures' started by Alamact, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Capt. Andrew Luck

    Capt. Andrew Luck Force Sensitive

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    [​IMG]

    Steve! IN THE FLESH! I'm so pumped.
     
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  2. Lankist

    Lankist Rebelscum

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    ZAEED! Quit farting around in the wrong universe! Get back to your SPACETIME REMINISCENCE ADVENTURES where you belong!
     
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  3. teline

    teline True Biscuit

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    Wait a minute...
    That must mean the other guy is...

    [​IMG]

    JAMES VEGA?!

    So... I'd like to double down on my suggestion. Pretty please and thank you.
     
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  4. NvVanity

    NvVanity Rebelscum

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    JUN should distract the winning arm-wrestler with something he won't see coming: a horrifically done karaoke performance of a sultry melody.
     
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  5. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend

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  6. Darth Bob

    Darth Bob Scoundrel

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    How appropriate. You fight like a moof.
     
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  7. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend

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    Don't tell me how I fight you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder! (Leia would always win)
    Becoming off topic, but the Trekkie in me subconsciously tries to get a Kirk.
    Who invented that name. Even not knowing Star Trek you would instantly know that being kirked can't be any good.
     
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  8. teline

    teline True Biscuit

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    To segue into this update naturally I propose we check if there's a JUKEBOX or something in the pub and see if it has a KARAOKE SETTING.
     
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  9. Alamact

    Alamact Rear Admiral
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    I want to shed some light on my recent disappearances and put some promised context on what's been going on in my life that has stunted the flow of updates over the past year or so. I would have rather avoided this altogether, but I've come to realize that it's selfish rather than selfless to keep you all in the dark for so long.

    To put it bluntly, my situation is becoming unsustainable. How I got here is a long tale and given my storytelling inclinations, it's best to pull out a chair (or not) and sit by the Rear Admiral near the campfire, 'cause we've got a convoluted story to tell.

    As the more observant among you have deduced, my real name is Christian A. Miller. I was born on July 13th 1996 in Belgrade to a family of German, Hungarian and Slovak descent - which makes me incidentally Bohemian, I suppose. Even though I was born in the capital of Serbia, my life began in a remote village near the borders of Romania in Northeastern Serbia. It is known by many names to the locals, but to the Hungarians, it goes by the name of Istvánvölgy.

    How It All Began
    Istvánvölgy used to have a sizable population of Germans and Hungarians with a Slovak majority, and the three disparate cultures were united by the evangelical protestant church situated at the center of the village. It was a small community, barely boasting a population above a thousand, but there was a lot to appreciate about the quietness of a simple life.

    The second World War irreversibly changed things in the region, as great calamities tend to do. It brought the partisans and communism to an emerging Yugoslavia and just like it happened in Russia, a lot of fortunes flipped overnight, but the middle class suffered all the same. The German population living in Yugoslavia, a side-effect of those territories either formerly belonging to or bordering the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was the perfect scapegoat for this plunder of riches.

    Regardless of your social stature, place of birth or denouncement of the Third Reich, if you had German ethnicity, your properties were seized, your family was butchered, shot and hunted down like animals - and only the luckiest ones managed to escape this so-called justice for the war crimes of the Nazi regime. Entire villages were wiped out because of the actions of a few German volunteers and, later on, forced conscripts. As righteous as it was to stand up against the inhumanity of the Third Reich, what does it say about its victors, or mankind as a whole, when the first thing they did was look for an excuse to commit genocide in turn?

    How did my family survive? We weren't the luckiest ones, as it so happens, but my great grandfather joining the partisans to fight the Nazis was what saved the Millers from a fate shared by many of their kin. He died in Belgrade during the war, but his actions ensured the rest of us would live on.

    My dad's German side of the family tried to build a life in the capital, overcoming poverty through hardship and trying their best to make my great grandfather's sacrifice count for something. His mom on the other hand, my grandma, was a Slovak from Istvánvölgy and these familial ties were ultimately what brought him and my mother together. It started as a fairly one-sided childhood infatuation that blossomed into love when my dad came back home from the army, and the two crossed their paths again by chance.

    And thus, a couple of years later, my father married into a Hungarian family. It was decided that he would live with the in-laws in their recently constructed family domicile over pursuing a job in Belgrade, since the 90s were infamously a very volatile time for the Balkan region in more ways than one. Living in a quaint little village on the other end of civilization seemed preferable to being at the epicenter of the chaos that would unfold.

    How We Got Here
    It took a while for me to come into this world. My mother had undergone two miscarriages already and merely hours after her second one, she held my father by his hand - and in bitter and defeated tears, her heart vulnerable and shaken, she told him that she would understand if he left her for someone who could bear him a child. My father never had a doubt in his mind. There was only one thing he truly wanted in life - and right now, she was resting just across from him. Through good or ill, he promised he would always be by her side - and no matter what life had in store for them, my dad said that he would face it with her, or not at all.

    A year later, I was born. I was a pretty big baby; I still am in some ways. Luckily, I was polite enough to come out the right way and luckily (or so I would love to believe), I have kept this politeness still. I spent a week in Belgrade, but the first chapter of my life began in Istvánvölgy.

    We like to joke about "the lazy author" - but I was apparently such a sedentary baby that I first learned to talk before I could walk. If there's one thing my parents were grateful about, it was me keeping a consistent sleep schedule that happened to align with their own. I didn't really have these short power naps during the day. Just your usual night's worth of rest. My mother was worried there was something wrong with me, but my father called it a blessing.

    I happened to be in Belgrade during its bombing in 1999 at a family reunion. I remember looking out into the skies, held by my grandfather, and thinking I was seeing fireworks for the first time in my life. I often come back to that memory as the perfect image of blissful ignorance, staring with joy into horror through the innocent eyes of a child.

    As I was growing older, it was becoming readily apparent that a life in Istvánvölgy was one I would never find fulfillment in. I was interested in computers, science, math, history, art. By age five, I could read and write, and solve advanced arithmetic. I was enthralled with stories and dreamed of making my own. I owe a lot to my grandfather, who had sparked this interest and encouraged it to grow ever since I left my cradle (in a very literal sense).

    The lights of the city beckoned me to come and around this time, I had been introduced to a thing called Star Wars that I found in my dad's old VHS collection. Just like Luke wistfully gazed out into the Twin Suns setting over Tatooine, so too did I dream of something more. The blonde, blue-eyed farmer kid, hailing from the edge of nowhere who wanted to see what lay beyond? That was me.

    Two years later I got my wish, and after my first grade of elementary, my parents moved me to Belgrade into the Miller residence which was steadily becoming an uncomfortably cramped apartment.

    Adapting to city life took time, and to an outsider like me - both ethnic and societal, the tribal mentalities of elementary school taught me the dangers of prejudice and racial discrimination very early on. Despite my best efforts, to the other classmates I was always the odd man out. My differences weren't seen as a curiosity or a quirk, but as a way to single me out.

    The only friend I had from that time was a fellow kid who had mixed German and Serbian ancestry. He didn't speak in a funny accent, he was Orthodox Christian, had the fortune of bearing a Serbian last name, and was a part of the class from the very beginning. Without him, I think those first couple of years in the big city would have been a lot less vibrant than the way I remember them now. In fact, I consider them a bright spot in my life, a time when I truly was happy - if only for the stark contrast of the dark years that would come.

    How It All Went Wrong
    My mom worked in theater as a tailor. She was a fountain of charisma and a magnetic presence that you'd struggle to dislike. She tried to live life to the fullest, embracing it in stride, and that jubilant attitude subsequently made my mother popular with her co-workers, many of which were famous Serbian actors. I used to hang out often in her workplace, butting heads with these giants - and if there's one thing that those evenings had taught me, is that the best thing you can do to a celebrity is to treat them like you would anyone else. The ones whose eyes lit up when you offer them this reprieve from stardom are the best of them. The ones who demand worship aren't worth knowing.

    I was nine at the time and summer was coming to a close. About a year prior, we had moved away into a home of our own - a small 300 sq ft apartment, luckily still in close proximity of the school that I was attending. My dad found a steady job working as an electrician, and my mom was on the verge of joining the costume department on her first television show. That's roughly where it all went to blast.

    The diagnosis came silently like a sudden sting from a wasp. My mom had skin cancer.

    It would be wrong of me to say that our lives got dismantled overnight, but like an avalanche, things started to change for the worse and the days felt darker even on the sunniest summer mornings. My grandfather's diagnosis soon followed. Lung cancer.

    Around that time, I needed a lot of distractions and I would bury myself in books, films and video games. It was when I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire, bought as a birthday present for my dad by his uncle for his 35th birthday. The harshness of Martin's prose, his buried idealistic undertones and rejection of nihilism oddly provided a comfort for me.

    The foolhardy Germans that we were, we tried to fight the disease on both fronts, yet history has shown that it has never been our specialty. My mother got admitted to chemotherapy soon after, cancelling all her projects and going on sick leave. Medical bills were ramping up, and more often than not, I was home alone for the entirety of the day - as my father would work for one half only to join my mother in the hospital for the other, after the end of his shift.

    To watch your loved ones decay in front of your eyes as a child is something indescribably horrid. The following five years feel like a blur to me. In the final stages of their illness, I would come home from school to see my mother resembling a corpse more than the inspirational, lively woman that she once was - only to come to my grandma's place for dinner and see my grandfather struggle to breathe or even speak. No matter where I slept, I would hear their pained moans throughout the night, and no matter how much in denial I was, deep down I knew it would only be a matter of time.

    It's the stench I remember the most from those final months. Our two apartments reeked of death. It's a smell I will never forget.

    One rainy October morning, I had slept more soundly than I have for a long while. I was woken up by my father. His hand shook me a touch gentler than usual and once I saw his face, I knew the chilling reason why. My mother had passed away and her body was about to be taken away. There's a primal sort of dread you feel when you see the stillness of a dead body for the first time in your life. You read it in books, you see it in movies - but they never prepare you for the real thing.

    I was so emotionally drained by the time the funeral came, that I felt nothing. My pain was spent, my tears have dried out, my energy was extinguished. There was just numbness. The only thing I had in my mind, the only drive that kept me going - was the promise I made to my mother to get out of this hellhole, this pilfered carcass of a country, before it swallowed me whole. It was the last night of clarity she had. I didn't quite fully comprehend the significance of that promise at the time, but I wanted to put her mind at ease in those final moments.

    A couple of months after, in January, my grandfather left the world as well. With my uncle marrying into a Serbian family, my father and I moved back into the Miller residence to support and be supported by our grandma. High school awaited me and luckily, my mother's pension allowed me to support my education to the best of my ability, and my restlessness and her promise looming above my head drove me to pursue personal projects outside and ahead of the curriculum.

    My father's workplace began to turn foul with corruption, greed and spiteful incompetence - and all this, coupled with him watching his father and the love of his life wither away in front of his eyes, strained his mind heavily. This gave way to alcohol, apathy, bitterness. I had never seen someone so alive be so dead inside and much of my teenage years were spent trying to hold the cracked pieces of our household together.

    How Things Are Now

    I excelled in high school and I met most of my mates here. Hell, I met Mads when he accidentally broke my arm and scarred my forehead as I was sitting next to an opened window. The parents were worried we would fight and sue and cause drama in the aftermath, but when I came back, we pretty much became best friends.

    It was a vocational school for computer sciences - with a focus on electronics, electrical engineering, math, programming and physics. My first year, I broke the record for the multimedia final exam, finishing it in negative 16 minutes. Depending on how well you did your written test, it would reduce your minutes on the computer part by up to 20 minutes. Thing is, it just wasn't expected that anyone would complete it under 25 minutes. I did it in four.

    Outside of classes, I formed a team of artists and composers to develop a fantasy setting - as a coordinated means to hone our skills and develop our craft. They were almost a decade older than me, and there were days where I felt daunted by the whole notion of this high school brat ordering around a bunch of college seniors and graduates, but it was a great learning experience for me and it allowed me to truly lay the foundations of my world-building capacity over the course of those three years.

    One thing I lament is that this focus in pursuing creative projects gave way to a dismissive attitude towards socialization, parties, romance. I was a very different sort of person back then. More cold and reserved. I buried the pain I endured all those years and deluded myself into believing that all trace of that hopeful, charismatic kid from my youth was gone.

    I had my first beer that I bought when I was fifteen and it was exactly there where I laid the foundation for what that fantasy setting was going to be. I was absolutely in over my head, but it didn't matter as long as I kept working on my future.

    In my final year of high school, I started to work early on my graduation project - an Infinity Engine inspired roleplaying game along the lines of Baldur's Gate - one of my childhood favorites. Six months yielded a fully functional character creation prototype written in .NET, accompanied by a robust dialogue system, a save game system, an inventory system - with a custom designed user interface, modified art, composed music and fully developed setting - all by yours truly.

    The time limit for your presentation of the graduation project (most often a programming assignment like creating a movie library program) is usually 15 minutes. Mine took 45 minutes as the evaluators keenly undertook the process of creating their characters and seeing those choices affect the narrative in the game's opening scene - reloading it to test out all the different branching paths and their outcome.

    I got a job offer from Ubisoft that month back when they were opening up shop in Belgrade, whose recruiting manager was under the belief I had just become a post-graduate as opposed to being a random bloke just fresh out of high school. I don't blame him for the mistake, my age was nowhere to be found on any of my social profiles back then (or now, I suppose). I declined the offer and elected to continue to pursue my education with the money I accumulated from my mother's pension.

    Unlike high school, I mostly kept my reputation on the down-low in university. I liked the quiet, and I shrunk my social circle down to a more manageable few. Nothing was sweeter to me than writing code half the length your assistant professor was expecting saying that "it won't compile" only to see the priceless "huh" look on his face when it did.

    It was in my junior year, January 2016, when I recalled the comic that I so passionately followed in the wake of my mother's death - Lankist's Paint Adventures. After my graduation project and the fantasy setting prior, I needed something new to keep me occupied. Working on this comic for the past three and half years has revealed a lot about me and helped reconcile the artist and the technician that were always at odds within my mind.

    It's also the first time I've dealt with an audience - and what a fine one it's been. As cliched as it is, I am so appreciative of your investment and support of this comic. Seeing all the love, all the encouragement, it has galvanized me in times where I felt so close to giving it all up.

    Ever since the death of my mother and my grandfather, the best way to describe my life would be a slow, inevitable car crash waiting to happen. I'm in the driver's seat, and my dad is in the other. All my efforts since have been to avoid this crash while I still have time - and the time I once thought I had, I no longer don't.

    My mother's pension has ran out. Much of last year was spent chasing small gigs like developing websites, tutoring college and high school seniors in programming, math or English, even making PowerPoint presentations for next to nothing. More importantly than that, I was feeling lost. Serbia is rotting within. There's a reason everyone is aching to leave and those that have the financial capital to do so never come back.

    Imagine the American ghetto that you cannot leave without leaving the country - and leaving a country that's neither a part of the European union, nor dedicated to the West or East, in the middle of a controversial dispute of sovereignty that lead to the bombing of its capital twenty years ago? Good luck with that.

    My father makes barely two bucks per hour working as the CNC programming lead in his firm, as well as handling all its technical documentation and paper. He didn't have a single free day for a span of five years and when he was electrocuted by shoddy and irresponsible leadership, he was given unpaid sick leave. The law is more of a guideline in this country than a concrete thing. He's a broken shell of a man now and I think the only thing keeping him alive is to see me succeed. It's become irrefutable to me that every day I spend here is a day of my life wasted.

    The problem is, I've never really had a good opportunity to network, living where I am. Some days, I feel like a skylark shouting from a rusted cage at the bottom of a damp, flooding basement - hoping someone from above would hear and open the door.

    How Things Could Be
    I am twenty three years old now. I used to think I would have a bit more time, but life has forced my hand. I have to chip-in all that I've accumulated over the past decade and make a run for it. I'm so damn young, but working towards an uncertain future for those nine years have sapped the unbending resolve I once used to have. What if it all fails? Have I wasted all that effort for nothing? I fought tooth and nail for everything good that has happened in my life thus far, but I fear I cannot afford to fight for it much longer. I feel that car crash coming and my fight or flight instincts are starting to kick in.

    That's the real reason the updates have been few and far between. Despite this period producing some of the comic's finest panels, until I solve the uncertainty of my future, I'm afraid the slow pace of the updates will be the norm.

    A friend paid a trip for me to attend Gamescom this year - a birthday gift that put me back on my feet again. I don't think I've ever held more than two hundred bucks in my hands before. Now I'm financed by double that amount; even had to make a PayPal account and everything. I don't know what I'll find there, but it will be the first time I've been outside the country on my own. Visiting both homelands where my ancestors came from will be good for my mind.

    I've applied to several jobs abroad. I don't know if they'll pan out, but I think I've got a year in me before this country claims me as well.

    That's my story. I don't want its bleak beginning to define it in perpetuity and I'm hoping that it's just the middle part of a classic rags-to-riches tale, rather than the Miller family's slow, cruel descent into oblivion.

    To give a glimpse on what I've been working on in parallel to the comic, here is a map I drew from scratch this May. I created much of its lore whenever I had time to think but not do, and I've got about three conlangs developed well enough to form semi-complex sentences. I've always been a fan of linguistics. If I didn't have such an interest in computers, I would have probably been one.

    Tomorrow morning, I will be on a bus ride to Budapest. Goulash, pálinka and dobos cake await. After that, it's a train ride to the birthplace of Beethoven - the city of Bonn - where I'll be staying for the duration of the event. I don't know if any of you fine folks will be attending Gamescom this year, but if you are, I would treasure the opportunity to meet you in person.

    This is the Rear Admiral signing off.
     
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  10. SKB

    SKB Force Sensitive

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    GIVE GOLD MEDAL to ALAMACT
     
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  11. Capt. Andrew Luck

    Capt. Andrew Luck Force Sensitive

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    Damn Al, I had no idea you had all that going on all this time. It makes this comic an even greater accomplishment in my eyes.
    I don't know a lot but I do know you are going places, man. Your writing alone should be able to get you a gig somewhere, never mind the other stuff. That map looks amazing and if you are willing to share it with us I would love to see your other work too.

    Random thought: I am actually wondering how many languages you know based on your heritage.
     
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  12. Alamact

    Alamact Rear Admiral
    1030th Commander *** (Mod)

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    Let me see if I can't conjure up something when I get back on the 26th (including the update), but the map is supposed to be a reimagining of the setting I used for my graduation project. It's meant to be a culmination of my growth as a worldbuilder, utilizing the all the lessons I've picked up along the way.

    The two patrons next to the door in the most recent panel are actually a cameo of sorts.
    My mother tongue is Slovak. I picked up English by watching cartoons, and my father specifically made it a point to avoid giving me synchronized versions. After that, I had to learn Serbian when I moved to Belgrade. German came next in fifth grade. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to learn Hungarian beyond the basic words that I still remember from my grandfather. He died when I was six due to a heart disease.

    Recently, I've had an interest in learning Spanish and Korean. I'm not fluent at all in those languages, but I know enough to order food without making myself look like a complete idiot. I'm a huge Starcraft fan, so learning the latter has been an interesting experience for me. It was their inspired writing system that drew me in, and as a matter of fact - one of the constructed languages I'm developing for Amethar is phonetically based on Korean and also uses the SOV word order.
     
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  13. Darth Bob

    Darth Bob Scoundrel

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    [​IMG]

    @Alamact After reading that, all I can say is that you, sir, surely have a heart of kyber.
     
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  14. teline

    teline True Biscuit

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    I knew parts of the story but not the whole thing. I really wish you all the best Al.
    Whatever you do, don't look back and blame yourself for the things that happened to you. It's not your fault.

    We're all here rooting for you.
    I have a fun story about this actually. I gave Al pointers about Korean a few months ago when he asked me about it and I thought that was going to be the end of it. He comes back 3 weeks later and just like that out of the blue, he starts to go all hardcore on me about the intricacies of the language.
     
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  15. Master_Farkaz

    Master_Farkaz Jedi General

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    Thank you for sharing your tale (The Rise of @Alamact)!
    (Your storytelling capabilities have served you well.)

    That was as gripping, saddening, yet also hopefull a story as I've ever read!

    I'm glad I got to know you a little and I love this runaway Juggernaut you've created!
    It's a testament to your abilities! Don't be affraid to spread your wings towards the unknown!
    Do you realize just how many rabid fans you have, spread across all four corners of this planet?

    All I can really say is: "Do what you need to do, to save you!"
    (Maybe you can reconnect with Ubisoft [for instance] at Gamescom... who knows what the future might bring!)
    Besides still being young, you have all the talent, the skills and the determination to get wherever you want to be...
    In spades!
    Just get your butt out of that car before it crashes!

    To use some motivational moviequotes:
    "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!" - Marty/George McFly ;)

    "Dew it!" "Rise, young Skywalker!" - Sheev Palpatine (pwned)
    "It is your destiny!" - Darth Vader(dark)

    I wish you all the best in life and all of your future endeavors, whatever they may be!
    We'll see the ORPA-updates if, when and as they come.
    Even if all you can do for the forseeable future, is just to visit our little band of scum and villainy every now and then.
    If that is what is needed for you to get where you want/ought to be, I'll be more than fine with it!
    Though I can barely wait for the next update, it'll be a small price to pay! And worth it... all of it! :cool:

    May the Force be with you my friend! Always!
     
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  16. Dork Lord of the Bith

    Dork Lord of the Bith PhD in Sith Ethics

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    You have it figured out by now, but there's nothing wrong with being redundant with these things: We are all rooting for you, Al!

    Break a leg at Gamescom, and hopefully you return with great experiences to tell of.
     
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  17. Alamact

    Alamact Rear Admiral
    1030th Commander *** (Mod)

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    I have experienced a lot of Bonn, yet I feel like it would take me at least a year to see all that it has to offer. It's an amazing town. Not to loud; not too quiet. With access to all sorts of cuisine for prices that put my local ones to shame.

    Special shout out to Yoji and Naomi for making my prelude to Gamescom an evening to remember.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  18. Darth Bob

    Darth Bob Scoundrel

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    VvX2u4f.jpg

    Those glasses...

    Why...?

    WHY?

    WHY ARE THEY BENT?!
     
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  19. GingerByte

    GingerByte Jedi General

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    Just a happy little photoshop accident ;)
     
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  20. Darth Bob

    Darth Bob Scoundrel

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    I would like to withdraw my previous suggestion and instead advocate the following:

    Jun buys an ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE in a STRANGELY-SHAPED GLASS and offers it to MR VANTRUCK.

    MANBEEF will be so TAKEN ABACK by the glass that he will TEMPORARILY LOSE CONCENTRATION, giving LUNK the OPENING he needs to CLINCH the WIN.
     
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