Bones' UO Comics

(Bones' UO Comics (C) Copyright 1999, Ed T. Toton III, All Rights Reserved)
(Unauthorized duplication prohibited)

Here you will see the list of annotations, comments on the individual comic strips by the author..

  1. Player Meets Lords British and Blackthorne - This was my very first UO comic strip. I had spoofed a picture or two previous to this, but hadn't yet attempted to make a comic strip as such. At the time, I was using UOX exclusively (I think FUSE was still being written), and so I created the scenes by making NPC's, and then turning myself to body type 0 (invisible, 0 height), and then positioning myself behind the characters and setting my altitude such that whatever I would say would appear to be coming from the appropriate character. The text color was brightened by hand by doing a flood-fill on each letter in Paint Shop Pro. This was very tedious, and I later found better techniques. The date, I believe, was April 3rd, 1998

  2. Bug Extermination - This was done the same way as the previous strip, but it was my first attempt at pasting spell-effects in. This was a little weird to do in version 3 of Paint Shop Pro (I used the magic wand tool, which skipped the outer-most edges of the lightning blasts).

  3. Love Triangle - I still hadn't settled into the standard 6 cells of the same size pattern yet here. But Who can forget the "Vas Flam Ex Wife" joke. Unfortunately I didn't come up with the joke originally, and I'm not sure who did. It's just been around for a long time.

  4. A Nasty Surprise - This was among the last ones I did in UOX before switching to FUSE for most of my strips. As nice as UOX was, FUSE was more stable for scenes such as this. The number of corpses on the ground would repeatedly crash the client (and windows) for some odd reason, so I ended up having to redo large portions of this. This strip ended up taking over two hours to complete, instead of the standard hour. Making both characters walk side-by-side was tricky too. Pasting one character over another is a pain to do in the old version of paint shop pro I have (if it's even possible). One of the characters was thus an NPC, and somehow (I forget how) I got him to appear to be walking for a brief moment while I was walking too, and snapped the screenshot. The dragon was pasted in from InsideUO, just as monsters and spell-effects almost always are in my comics series. At the time, I didn't have a good method for this, and thus the total blackness between its limbs.

  5. Mage Battle - What comic series would be complete without making fun of the rune names used as spell incantations? You'll notice by the placement of the text relative to the characters that I was still taking screenshots in which I actually spoke and performed the actions simultaneously, rather than paste the text in later. I was still having NPC's stand in for the characters I wasn't 'playing' myself. In this case, the only NPC's you actually see in the final results are the skeleton in all the cells but the last one, and the green mage in the last cell. Since I hadn't yet achieved a good method of pasting in the text, it had to be done this way.

  6. Lord British Sued? - I still hadn't settled into my standard pattern yet at this point, but so began the longest running pseudo-plot in my comics: The Infamous Lawsuit from Hell!! :-) It's interesting to note that the real-life lawyer from the lawsuit e-mailed me after seeing this. I hope he wasn't offended by my opinion of the lawsuit. But never the less, this has provided some good inspiration for my comics. The lawsuit actually began a little while before I started the comic series (and this strip was only 3 days into my comic series), and it seemed to be a perfect source of material. Of course, this particular episode can also be likened to what was happening with the president. "I can't be sued, I'm the king!" can easily be turned to "I can't be sued, I'm the president!" :-) This was the last strip to paste screenshots together with no transparency (meaning the text had to be spoken in the proper place so that the backgrounds line up correctly, and if the text overwrites a character, that character had to exist as an NPC)

  7. Customer Service - This one was more of a set-up for future jokes than a joke in itself. Finally, six same-sized cells though! Finally armed with Corel Photo Paint (combined with Paint Shop Pro, since they each have their strengths and weaknesses) and FUSE, I found it MUCH easier to paste the text in, and color-modify it in one pass. At the time, to paste in multiple counselors so close together and in the same poses, I would pose once, extract the character and delete the background, and then paste multiple copies in. This resulted in no shadows for these characters, and the removal of the background from them was tedious and time-consuming. I later discovered that for shots like this, I could pose my characters out in the blackness between the dungeons, and select by color, and voila! No background surrounding the character, and thus pasting with transparency was quick and easy from then on. But like I said, I didn't think to do that yet in this strip. This seemed like a good comic strip to make to test out these new graphics methods I had at my disposal for the text, and pasting characters in, once they were properly prepared.

  8. The Meaning of Death - Introducing Osso and Ossis! Actually, I had planned on having them right from the start. This is a form of Bones' Comics after all. But I didn't immediately decide on a few issues with them right off the bat, so they thus first appeared in strip #8. This strip isn't the greatest in humor, but it met its goal of introducing the characters. This episode establishes Ossis as the straight-man, and Osso as the wacky guy who has great amounts of misfortune. Later on it will be shown that he has some super-human capabilities, just because he doesn't know better. This is also the first one to feature characters from other episodes chasing each other at the edge of the scene. Those who guessed that the newbie-like character is supposed to be the lawyer guessed correctly.

  9. The Return of the Avatar - What Ultima would be complete without the Avatar? Mixing graphics from different games is a simple way to make a joke. Of course, Ultima 7 and UO use completely different view angles, so the Avatar looks very odd mixed in. The easiest way to deal with that is, of course, to draw attention to it through the characters themselves. :-) Originally the last cell of this strip didn't even exist. Someone suggested I add a 'punchline', so within 24 hours of posting this strip, I had added that last image. Notice that the ghosts say 4-letter words.

  10. Weapons Patch - This one was made at a time when the hottest discussion topic was the weapons balance, or lack thereof, especially pertaining to archery. The arrows don't look quite right because I rotated them in Photo Paint, which for some reason increased their thickness. Someone once asked if I used arrows from another Ultima, but in actuality I just pulled them from InsideUO.

  11. This ain't diablo! - It's a shame UO isn't actually coded to make you drop your weapons and shields when you turn and run in terror. :-) This was kind-of a pain to do, since I had to extract Diablo himself from a screenshot, and erase all of the background surrounding him so that he could be pasted in with transparency. In some cases, it was hard to tell what was background and what was a horn. In the end it looked OK, but I think I really should have adjusted the color, brightness, contrast, etc on him before finalizing the scene.

  12. Status Report - Here we continue on with the Lord British plotline a little bit. At the time, I decided to try to "set up" for future jokes by having LB interrupted while talking about rounding someone or something up, and making a reference to 'toys'. I had no idea what these would be, but as you'll see, I got struck with an idea rather quickly. The second part of this was added for the sole purpose of being able to show counselors in subsequent strips without having those skull helmets on.. Kinda cheap, I know. :-)

  13. Monster's Distress - Talking monsters, and portraying the NPC's in the game as intelligent creatures in general, is often considered to be funny.. Perhaps it's because in actuality they're just so stupid! I thought it would be cute to portray a few monsters as working for OSI. At first, it looks as though this is going to be just another boring strip in which a character gets mad and flattens someone. Instead, the counselor is not even affected, and the monster nearly apologizes.

  14. Lord British's Toys - This was one of the longer strips. Generally I try to keep them down to six cells, but in this case I wanted to actually show that they were running all the way around to the back of the castle, so I needed eight. I had suddenly been hit with an idea for LB's "toys" and what he was having "rounded up" at the same time- women. I've been portraying a farcical version of LB, who has just kind-of forgotten about his own virtues and instead has turned to drinking and womanizing. The drinking part hasn't been portrayed, but it was in the back of my mind. This espisode also marks the end of the first week that my comics series was in existence. For the first week and a half, I averaged two strips a day. After that, it gradually fell off to one a day, then just a few a week, then only a few a month, and so on.

  15. Dye Bug - I thought it would be interesting to have a few more Origin personas appear once in a while. Also, no one can forget the infamous dye bugs, of which there have been many. They tend to be stamped out quickly by the staff at OSI, because they're very visible. This has led, in part, to the general populace feeling like OSI mis-spends their resources on dealing with inconsequential issues while letting the unbalancing exploits continue unabated. This isn't quite true, of course, but it can still be a good source of humor. At the same time, Designer Dragon had been seriously cutting back on his time spent writing on the message boards and responding to personal e-mail, since he was making an effort to not say anything that could cause problems with the lawsuit. Eventually he returned to his usual ways, but I needed to poke at it a little. :-)

  16. Budget Problems - Another idea hit me one day, a story to explain the origin of all those female guards. I remember back in the beta-test, all the guards used to be platemail-wearing halberd-wielding males. Then one day, the female guards nearly replaced them.. And all of them wear the skimpy "Xena armor", and don't even have any kind of footwear! This really struck me odd, so I figured someone at OSI was just having fun with it.. But what if Lord British had a harem, and couldn't afford to give them much clothing even if he wanted to. Hahah.. And yes, the "whacking" comment at the end was intended to be a play on words, so to speak.

  17. The Value of Virtue - This one mostly just fleshes out my LB character a little more, demonstrating that he's more or less left the virtues by the way-side. But it also makes a stab at the point that people really do find things less interesting if it doesn't affect someone. Having your actions cause real consequences to a real person makes things much more interesting. Just look at all the PK's out there. That's what they're all about. In fact, in a broadrer sense it really goes to the heart of what Ultima Online is about.

  18. To Quit or Not To Quit? - Something some of my friends and I have commented on repeatedly is that we've noticed a trend in UO players- They tend to quit in a fit of frustration, or claim that they will quit, but then return the following day or week. We've watched nameless people on the message boards, and famous people who run their own websites do this time and time again. Must be some sort of evil magic that OSI has cast into UO to make it impossible to leave. Those bastards!! :-)

  19. Setting Sail - I saw the movie Titanic, and just had to make fun of it in some way (I have to make fun of everything). The iceberg is just a south-facing tip from the ice island. I erased everything I didn't want, and draw some breaking water slightly around the bottom edges. I sunk the boat in FUSE by editing its Z value. I found just the right depth, since any higher and parts of the deck would show in an unrealistic manner, and any deeper and the mast wouldn't look good and the rails would vanish. This is a good example of a strip that involves secondary humor; in this case it is the "skeleton crew" pun.

  20. Dry Land - I try to maintain continuity when I can, and make the whole comic series appear to be an on-going story in chronological order. For this reason, we pick up where we left off with Osso and Ossis, and they have just washed ashore after their ship sank. This particular strip makes fun of something that actually happens to Seers -a lot-. It's amazing how many people are flat-out rude to seers and seer characters if they aren't currently running and event or quest. I've seen this particular line used by a player in just such a situation: "Then what good are you?"

  21. The Search Continues - I'm particularly fond of this comics thread, dealing with customer support and the lawyer. In this strip, we see a whole bunch of computers being used in LB's castle. There's two interesting things to note about this.. For one, you'll notice that OSI is portrayed in an in-game context, as though they exist completely within the game, instead of outside of it. Secondly, I hand-drew the computers, but they matched so well that people have actually asked me what their item ID numbers were so that they could use them in UOX or FUSE. Actually, to tell you the truth, if DD or anyone there at OSI would like to put it into a patch, I'd be willing to send them the original computer BMP without the JPG artifacts (In the JPG, you can't see the power and hard-drive LEDs). This is also another case of using an existing OSI employee. Zippy is one of the "behind the scenes" sorts of people there, and any of the players who have dealt with him have often come away feeling like he makes a lot of promises and things never get done. This gets alluded to again later.

  22. Still Lost - Land pirates.. Gotta love that. But the thing that's REALLY funny about this comic strip is the fact that about a week after I posted this strip, a bug appeared in the game in which people's ship claim-tickets were turning back into full-sized ships in their backpacks, rendering them immobile due to the weight. Was this a premonition? :-)

  23. The Codex - This is one of those rare cases where I got an absolutely fantastic idea handed to me as a suggestion. This is a classic, IMHO. This is also the one that contains the Energizer Bunny.

  24. Security Sucks - Have you ever been to the jails in Yew? Every cell has a secret door, though they're not as easily visible as I portrayed them here. No wonder every crime is "kill on sight", the jails proved inneffective! :-) Also notice that Lord British tends to be one of the few who cusses blatently in my comics.

  25. Who Needs Friends? - Everyone loves an idiot. NOT! :-) Notice that the ghost uses a 4-letter word. Actually, nearly every time ghosts appear in my comics, they're saying 4-letter words. This was done intentionally. Also, notice that the monster leaves the idiot alone. How typical! :-)

  26. Summoning - Well, I guess even the creatures in UO have to pay their $10 per month. No one gets a free ride!

  27. Deep Black - This strip was made during the massive rush to get black dyes during the time that it was possible to do so. A program written by a good friend of mine had an undocumented feature, when combined with a loophole in the server, allowed silhouette-black to be used as a dye color. Notice in this strip, only the guy who did the dying gets killed, and the guy wearing it is free to go. In reality, dying pure black was never deemed to be a "bad thing" as such. It was simply disabled, but people were allowed to keep their clothes and dye-tubs.

  28. Wonders of the Wild - This was one of the rare cases in which I decided to portray a seer character (with permission). It seemed like the perfect opportunity to deal with the dogs and bones issue. Osso's reaction is a classic. :-)

  29. Behind the scenes - Someone had commented to me that the last time we saw the computer room, it was actually full of GM's.. Hmmm. Can't have that, now can we? So here we show only two GM's on duty, make a play at Zippy's alleged/apparent inability to make things happen, include another real but less-known GM, and also show one of the GM's on duty playing instead of working. This comic strip was made right after there was a huge debate on the message boards and the like about a GM abusing the invulnerability flag with his player-character.

  30. A Wandering Healer - Dumb NPC's are great to make fun of. In fact, you can do this in-game by changing the title of a book to something, and then handing it to an NPC. An old favorite is to name a book "a subpoena for the OSI lawsuit", to which the NPC says "Thou art giving me a subpoena for the OSI lawsuit? I am not interested in this."

  31. A Meeting of Minds - You have to love the k00ldEwD style of talking. Sometimes it's hard to tell what they're trying to say... at other times, it's quite easy (especially when they're speaking with their weapons). The misspellings and speach patterns shown here are all right out of things I've witnessed in the real game.

  32. Tracked Down - OK, not terribly funny, but I had to poke more fun at the subject of god-client abuse while the topic was hot. :-)

  33. No Respect - This was kind-of a stab at the lawsuit based more on my own opinion of it than anything else. I personally didn't agree with the lawsuit, and so I had Osso and Ossis not even stop to give the dead lawyer the time of day. :-) Notice how the passer-by just sees O's, and quotes the ghost with 4-letters. :-)

  34. Life Goes On - I really love this one. Not only does it imply that the entire support staff is only two GM's, but then the counselors come storming in and actually kill one of them before they notice what they're doing. In reality, counselors are like blue-robed ghosts that can talk without spirit speak involved- they can't do anything at all. So I portray them the opposite way, as enforcers working directly for the GM's, but not fully accountable for their actions. :-)

  35. The Bank - This was one of the rare scenes that was 'filmed on location', meaning the scenery was taken from in-game rather than with FUSE or UOX. The blue mage was me, in my usual clothes. This came at a time in which I was particularly annoyed at those multi-purpose macros that people would use. Of course, we also see the lawyer being chased by a counselor again, but he's still a ghost, so it's not obvious who he is.

  36. The Bank Revisited - Isn't this always the case? You just get back with your loot, and something happens to it. In this case, it wasn't a server crash, but a client crash, or more specificially, a connection loss that left the poor fool vulnerable to bank thieves.

  37. A New Land - I couldn't resist using my QuickCam to make a strip take place in the real world somewhere. The idea that came to mind was my desk. Osso's reaction is a classic.. "we're in BLACK & WHITE! No!" Hehe :-) Considering that I now have a color camera, I may have to take another stab at this sooner or later.

  38. Run away! - One strange thing people have noticed about UO is that arrows, fireballs, and all other projectiles seem to "chase" the target, like they're heat-seeking or something. The way the game actually works is that the hit and damage is determined at the moment the shot is fired, but the animation takes time to play out. Running from a fireball doesn't save you from the hit. If you escape it, then you never really got hit in the first place. Running from the person or monster on the other hand can keep them from shooting again. Anyway, because the animation takes time to play out, if you move, the shot has to change direction to follow you. But it still looks really wierd. :-)

  39. None Shall Pass - A little reference to Monty Python never hurts.. But this comic strip stands as a testament to Osso's pocket of infinite capacity. That ship he took from the land-pirates sure did come in handy!

  40. Lizard - Those commercials for Godzilla and Taco Bell were everywhere, and deserved to be made fun of. Too bad all I did was repeat the commercial. I wasn't exactly at my best here.. It's almost embarassing.

  41. New Castle - Don't you hate it when people are inconsiderate? :-)

  42. Urbanization - Many people, myself included, have gotten quite annoyed at the maze of houses that has to be navigated to walk through the farthest reaches of "the wild". Over-urbanization has ruined the sense of outdoors that used to exist far away from the cities. Osso and Ossis end up getting completely trapped and can't escape, as a poke at this issue.

  43. Warriors Honor - Many of us have been on both sides of this. I remember getting very upset when people would steal my kill, when it was the first time I was about to succeed at killing something single-handedly. Having two nameless but well coordinated warriors come out of nowhere, do the deed, and vanish as quickly as they came seemed to be the ultimate insult to this guy. :-) On the other hand, I've also seen people get rediculously bent out of shape over having others take the kill, when usually it's not that big of a deal. If you look closely, you'll see that the orc actually does lose its equipment to the looters.

  44. NPK Reputations - This one came into being at a time when there was a bug in the new reputation system that would flag you as a criminal if you looted your own corpse, or something like that. So I extended it, and made it so this guy became a criminal for looting his kill. :-)

  45. Rabbit Abuse - What's really scary is that this has actually been done in the game, many many times. Sometimes I don't need to make this stuff up.

  46. Lord British Makes an Appearance - Ahh, the continuing antics of LB and the lawsuit. This strip came right after LB made an in-game appearance to speak to the leaders of a rebellion that was in progress, and hence the comment about rebelling. People have told me that they really laughed when they saw LB shouting a multi-purpose macro. But one of the things I thought was cute too was the fact that the guard, perhaps a little bitter about being considered a 'toy', yells "I'm too busy watching to help thee!"

  47. Where are the guards? - This actually happened to me in the beta. The circumstances were similar, but not exact. It took place at the britain forge, as shown, but I was exiting through one of the doors at the time, and witnessed someone stealing from someone else and so I called the guards. Soon, no one could move, and we were neck-deep in guards, as shown.

  48. Timing Out - I had just seen the X-Files movie when I made this. I couldn't resist having some sort of cross-over. Of course, Osso is talking about consipiracy theories to explain the phenomenon of "timing out", and while he's talking Ossis times out. The aliens were made using the child-images from UO, with the hands, feet, and heads drawn-over with grey colors and big black eyes.

  49. Bank Bug - Ever wonder how the bank employees offer such rapid service with such big heavy boxes involved? Well, maybe they don't handle it as well as we thought.

  50. Counselor Training - This is the dream of every counselor and seer, to be able to hack down that sort of player. This strip instantly became a favorite in certain circles. :-)

  51. The Ball - Another idea handed to me. Another explanation for unusual sights in the land of Britannia. :-)

  52. Seer Troubles - Just to be irritating, Osso decides to be one of those annoying players shown in strip #50 "Counselor Traingin", and the seer attempts to do what we just saw a counselor do two strips ago. Unfortunately, Osso was accidentally prepared. :-)

  53. The Zog Cabal - This was based on the Zog Cabal event that was actually starting that week, but nearly no one knew about it, so they thought I invented the event for the comic strip. In reality, the Zog Cabalist characters were already active in-game for nearly a week when the name change and this comic strip came to pass. This strip followed reality a bit too closely. :-)

  54. The Second Age - At this point, the beta-test was underway for the Second Age, but due to the NDA, I couldn't show any actual scenes from there. But one thing I did notice in the new lands was that a lot of color-variants of monsters existed that were much much tougher than what we were used to, and so under-estimating the monsters was a common mistake. I was thus able to make a new comic strip based on it that didn't use any of the new graphics or give anything away, but was still funny to the beta testers and to the non-testers alike.

  55. Trapped - Have you ever felt sorry for those poor creatures stuck inside the dungeon walls? Well, helping them could be a jailable offense.. hahah..

  56. Jailed - Like I said earlier, jail just isn't effective in UO these days. Hahah. :-)

  57. The Second Age - Take Two - Finally the NDA was lifted, and I wanted to be the first to make a strip with the new graphics, so I rolled this one out as fast as I could. I probably could have done better with the final cell. Blaming it all on DD just wasn't that humorous.

  58. The Lawsuit Ends - I just couldn't believe the way the lawsuit ended. It struck me odd, so here's my portrayal of how it ocurred. Check out the comments with the actual strip for more detail. I used UOX instead of FUSE for this one.

  59. Chasing Cheaters, part 1 - Someone suggested I create some comics delving into what often appears to be a misplacement of resources in terms of how various issues get dealt with. What could be more inappropriate than to kill someone for dying things and to let a witnessed insta-kill exploit go unpunished? :-) Also notice that the GM's use the same insta-kill exploit to stop the dyer.

  60. Chasing Cheaters, part 2 - Having just witnessed acts of cheating in the last episodes, our GM's get treated the way they usually treat the players. What bitter irony!

  61. Chasing Cheaters, part 3 - This finishes out the 'Chasing Cheaters' storyline, at least for now. OK, so I'm not at my best here. :-) Hopefully things will get better soon.

  62. Undead Guild - I decided that Osso and Ossis needed to make another appearance, and that it was about time that I put "myself" in as well, considering I think I only appeared once before. :-) If I were really obsessed with this stuff, I'd go and create the guild in-game, even though I can't actually play as a blue skeleton as such. Heck, if I were really the scheming type, I'd probably try to get people to finance a castle for me. hehe.. :-)

  63. Drawing - Not everyone has the same opinions of what constitutes good comics. Not everyone agrees on what should be considered comics at all. Well, a comics author out there has expressed his opinion on the matter repeatedly, sometimes publically, sometimes privately. While I'm not the type to take great offense at such things or get into petty squabbles, such things can be a source of inspiration for creating humor. See if you can find the clickable "easter egg", which will lead you to more detail, and eventually origins of the inspiration for this strip and its sequel.

  64. Drawing, Part 2 - The first hand-drawn strip for this site! Actually, this took little time/effort to put together. The characters were already drawn, so all I needed to do was add some text. This is a follow-up to the previous strip, and continues to poke fun at some people's opinion of what constitutes real humor. Funny, I always thought the content was more important than the medium. :-)

  65. A GM's Life - Minx is another GM that is not as well known as the support GM's. In this case, she's an IGM (Interest GameMaster), which are the people who create the events and storylines, and aid the seers. They deal with an insane amount of tasks, and this comic strip pays homage to their efforts.

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(Bones' UO Comics (C) Copyright 1999, Ed T. Toton III, All Rights Reserved)
(Unauthorized duplication prohibited)

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