Friday, October 21, 2016

Elevations Connection: Bad Artistically Rendered Trivia

A totally accurate and current map of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System

Time to resume this weekly thing, like, one year after starting my comic. I thought I'd have all four volumes of the first arc done by now and onto the second part. Life is funny, eh?

So, for context's sake, I will only be covering pages 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66-67, and 68-69.
AKA the BART pages.

For those of you outside Northern California, BART is a large subway/metro system that covers a portion of the Bay Area, feeding three East Bay regions into San Francisco. It's a product of the 70s and it shows... but more on that later.

How the BART came into play here is kinda like how Douglas Adams thought of the infinite improbability drive: a convenient means to an end. I knew that chapter four would predominantly take place in San Francisco, and Terry had to find a reason to get up there (and inevitably return to Elias).

The original idea called for starting by Balboa Park (thus allowing Terry to jump onto a departing train, with Edward and Peter following quick behind. I then realized that even a con artist with all their might probably wouldn't be able to live comfortably in the city... so I pushed it down to a much less dense suburb of Hayward. This also allowed for two things:
1) Show Elias' house as being more run-down
2) Make the reveal of San Francisco a little more dramatic

The original script I drafted immediately cuts from the end of chapter 3 to Elias' house, with Terry returning by bus after some exposition, and encounter Peter there. The pacing didn't feel right, and the horse quota was missing. After some time (okay, two months), I realized that I could use the medallion as a type of teleportation device... without giving much else away, the medallion could dematerialize organic matter into electrical particles. Surely, one could use this technique to transport between trains via the tracks themselves.

What is shown online, however, is an abridged version of what I had scripted - I had two more additional pages with the horse cryptically explaining the process as they jumped trains with a flash at Oakland. I would've kept these in if it weren't for the calendar marching on. Heck, chapter 4 has the most cut for online showing just to keep a schedule.

This proved confusing as I had storyboarded those additional pages before omitting them, and mistakenly drew a portion of said pages before realizing my mistake and redoing from scratch.

Also, upon riding the BART line from Hayward to SF the other day, I realized after drawing that there are power lines too close to the elevated tracks; Poor dragon would be roasted.

And now some BART facts and trivia:
  • Terry's question about Montgomery wasn't random. If one wanted to take a bus across the Golden Gate bridge to Marin County and beyond (as he would for visiting Elias), a majority of northbound commuter buses begin their routes just north of Montgomery street station.
  • BART was designed in the 1960s and started running in the 1970s with the dream of being a cutting edge model of urban transportation (original seats were made of cloth and all cars were carpeted in a warm, welcoming brown). Up until the early 2000s, it still appeared cutting edge.  A recession and an unexpected tech boom packed a punch to the system.
  • BART is wide: the tracks are built on broad gauge of 5ft 6in width compared to the 4ft 8in standard gauge. The reasoning at the time was for comfort, but left the system incompatible with a majority of rail networks leading to most equipment needing a custom design. Aside from the obvious county politics, a majority of BART's construction and upkeep costs would be significantly lower if they had simply built to standard gauge.
  • I lied about the map. This is the actual system, and this is what was planned in the early 60s. 
  • The trains are loud and the robotic announcement voices are creepy.