This afternoon the many players of Valve's Team Fortress 2 were delighted to find that Valve had accidentally leaked a long awaited promo for the Spy class. Valve quickly removed the video from their Youtube account, but the video was allegedly viewable to users on the Apple iPod touch/Phone due to a speed issue and was quickly reuploaded via a conviently available app. In no time the video found its way onto Youtube and various other video sites. This most recent incarnation of the "Meet the ___" videos features impressive visuals, numerous hints to future updates, and by far the most entertaining script. Earliest known upload credit goes to Zephyrak of GFAQs.
I recently had a chance to sit down with Dave and Psy of GG-Guys. What followed was extremely entertaining and likely illegal in 13 states.
DABRB: Why don’t you each tell me a bit about yourselves.
Dave: Well, I'm a nice Australian guy, who aspires to become a full-time animator. I've wanted to draw/animate since I was wee little boy, watching cartoons and movies, inspired to make my own stories and characters. My dream goal is to one day be the creator of kids animated program. In the mean time, I'm a freelance Adobe Flash animator and artist for GG-Guys, written by my lovely colleague, Psy.
Psyguy: I work for a company called Momentum Transport - I'm in charge of their website. Making the server work. Making sure the site works. Other tech junk. I've been working on webpages since '96 and I've been doing various comics of all shapes and sizes. I always been a fan of comics and when webcomics started to pop up - I had to throw my hat into the ring. But it started off with a Sonic sprite comic - that is to say I would take the individual frames of animation from the game and actually use that for the main actions of the comic. I've been looking at the "web-comic" formula for a long time and I've been trying to get something to "stick" for awhile now.
DABRB: For 35 comics, I'd say that your current format is sticking.
Psyguy: Well it's really all about the art. You can write better than Charles Dickenson for webcomics, not that I'm sure he would understand gamer-humor, but if the art doesn't sell - the whole comic ship sinks.
DABRB: True, very true. Now I understand that Dave's an Aussie, but where exactly are you from Psy?
Psyguy: I was born in Anchorage, Alaska. And no, I don't know Sarah Palin. But I moved to Texas because my mother is in the oil industry.
DABRB: A Texan eh? Longhorns or A&M?
Psyguy: UoH [University of Houston]
DABRB: Fair enough. So how did you two get together to make this comic? I'm pretty sure you didn't exactly knock on each others door and plan this out.
Dave: Well, I've been following Psy's website adventures since he started his Sonic sprite comic. I had this strange vision like he was some grand-web-figure of immense power, and got it into my head that one day I would be a part of his site. Last year, a friend of his, Chris Niosi, was making a call out for his project Nin10Doh!, and I decided to become a part of that. After I'd worked with him, I decided it was time I made the leap and asked Psy if I could join. So, I wrote up an email, sent it to him, showed him some of my work and he said yes.
DABRB: "Nin10Doh!"? Wasn't that a Youtube series?
Dave: It's am Adobe Flash collaboration hosted on Newgrounds.com, that also got loaded onto YouTube. I was responsible for the Captan Falcon segments, with him singing "I Can't Drive Fifty-Five", which was really fun to do.
DABRB: I'm actually quite fond of those segments. Needed more PAUNCH! though. Any chance of another installment?
Dave: Indeed there was. End of last year, Chris hired me and the other collaborators to make a sequel, $oopah Nin10doh!, in which I animated the Starfox segments. That was really fun.
DABRB: So tell me about the comic. As far as I can tell it’s autobiographical, but I could be wrong. Psyguy: Dave asked me out of the blue - which was a total shock. Because I just get this random note on my Deviant Art that this guy with incredible talent wants to draw for me. Kind of put me on the spot. I, being a giant fan of penny-arcade, always wanted to be the writer of a gamer comic. I bounced a couple ideas off Dave - use Megaman? Maybe Sonic? How about our own gaming characters? I'm sick of 2 guys on a couch so maybe we should just use ourselves so if we fall into any clichés it's purely a coincidence. I try to give something real and not just 2 wacky guys on a couch and one guy is less wacky with an attractive girlfriend and blah blah blah. I told my girlfriend about this at the time, Liz, who wanted to be part of it. It fell into the 2 guys 1 girl thing on its own. I have random ideas here and there and I try to bounce them off Dave so we can make them as "good" as possible. Sometimes I try to keep to gamer comics because, well, they get attention. It's more or less our ideas we bounce off each other.
Psyguy: I'm, Psy. The guy with the hat in the green. Dave is the boy in blue. Amber, my main website's mascot (fireball20xl.com) - who actually had to replace Liz because her and I stopped talking - is the pink haired eye-candy who has yet to have a line.
DABRB: I'd hate to ask, but does that have anything to do with the female character not having any lines?
Psyguy: It was actually my poor writing abilities. The jokes were about Dave and I so I just kind of had Amber sit in the background. It started to be a running gag - we have a comic planned where she's actually going to start to speak - but gets cut off.
Dave: People have often asked if it was because she was mute, but yea, it's mainly just in the writing. We'd like to think she hasn't said anything because, well, nobody's asked her anything.
DABRB: So we can plan to see her speak in the future?
Psyguy: As a matter of fact - yes! We want Dave and Psy to be stuck thinking of something and Amber comes over and suggests something. Psy would freak out, "HOLY CRAP, YOU CAN TALK!". Amber, "Well yeah...no one's ever asked me..." Dave and Psy, "Ooooooh...."
DABRB: I'm looking forward to it. I noticed in your latest comic that a few figures from the webcomic community make cameos. Do you actually know any of them?
Dave: I'm more familiar with these webcomic figures mostly. VGCats I've been watching for years now.
Psyguy: I know Scott Ramsoomair (VgCats) personally from conventions and what not. I've been talking with Scott Smith and Scott Hepting (Slackerz) mostly on twitter. Scott DeWitt (Fanboys) I've talked to off and on but I don't know as well as the other 3.
DABRB: While on the subject of your last comic, did you guys actually get a Joystiq or were you mocking those who have?
Dave: Nope, it be very true. Joystiq.com held a competition the week before we made the comic, where our Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks story made it into the lineup. Though we didn't win, we did very well, coming second in the overall line up. It was quite an awesome experience.
DABRB: Well congratulations.
Dave: Thank you, sir.
Psyguy: Much thanks.
DABRB: Tell me about the work that goes into each installment of GG-Guys. Dave: Well, it's a long drawn out process, where Psy involves himself for about a few minutes writing a story, usually through us throwing around ideas, then I spend a week drawing it!
Psyguy: Those are a very intense few minutes!
Dave: Once I get the script, I start roughing it out in Adobe Photoshop, creating the comic frames, roughly drawing the character poses, backgrounds, and anything I feel important to add, and then create text and text bubbles on top. From there, I outline the rough drawings, then color them in, add backgrounds which are either painted or become gradients if I'm strapped for time, and then finish by adding any little details, like lens flare or glowing effects. Once I flatten it into an image, I wait till Saturday to post it....or in most cases, end up posting it the exact same time I finish it on Saturday night (Saturday morning in America).
DABRB: I noticed that the art and writing are unusually advanced for such a "young" webcomic. Is there somewhere where we can see your earlier work? Psyguy: Oh lord, my early writing. Sure you can have that. Be warned it may cause cancer. You have been warned.
Dave: Well, art wise, I've been developing since I was a wee-boy. I've been doing comics since then, mainly for myself, and not doing very well I might add. It just seemed to click well when I combined my art style with Psy's awesome writing - examples of my work you can find here.
Psyguy: In closing that is how I spent my summer vacation.
Dave: And it was the best vacation ever.
Psyguy: Except for the syphilis. DABRB: ..........
Psyguy: Ba dum tish. I'm the writer.
Dave: That's our Psy!
DABRB: Well it's been a pleasure, but I have one last question for the both of you.
Psyguy: We're not gay. DABRB: Are you ga-.......... Psyguy: HO HOOOO
Dave: Ooooo snap.
Psyguy: The more you know and starwipe! And we're out
Nathan Gibson is a freshman majoring in electrical engineering. He enjoys candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, and other cliches. He works on his blog when he isn't busy being broke, unemployed and single.