Foul, mischievous creatures infamous for their talent at stealing one's arsenal and for their disgusting reproductive methods. They can be found in the PC (personal computer) mission pack add-on Quake: Scourge of Armagon.
Having successfully defeated the hell-mother, Shub-Niggurath (the final boss of the original Quake game), our weary Marine found a slipgate that lead back to our realm, and the military facility from which he had launched his assault against the forces of Quake. However, all was not well, as the complex was deserted. Scanning a computer monitor readout, our hero discovered that the base had been evacuated in response to more strikes by the enemy--it appeared slaying Shub-Niggurath was not the decisive victory our hero had thought--Quake was still threatening Earth. Grimly, the Marine reloaded his shotgun with fresh shells and set out for the nearby storage facility in hopes of acquiring some more powerful weapons, or, at the very least, keeping them out of the hands of the enemy. So began a new adventure, one that would eventually pit the lone Marine against Quake's deadly general, the cyborg monstrosity Armagon . . .
Gremlins are servants of Armagon. As they are found only in areas that he controls, it seems safe to speculate that they are either indigenous to his territories or were bred/created by him. Their talent for appropriating weapons from their foes and using the dead, both friend and foe, to bolster their numbers makes them an ideal, self-sustaining force. In theory, given time, a single, unarmed Gremlin could colonize and conquer an entire world. While they can be encountered individually, Gremlins are social creatures and are more commonly found hunting together in small packs. As they do not reproduce sexually, Gremlins have no gender.
Gremlins derive great satisfaction from stealing an opponent's weapon(s) from him or her and using it to slay them. They excel at this tactic--a Gremlin's 'sticky fingers' rival those of a professional thief. However, even unarmed, their sharp teeth and claws make very effective weapons; a Gremlin can tear a human apart in seconds. While not terribly intelligent in the general sense, Gremlins have an uncanny ability to immediately understand the operation and use of any mechanical device--usually to the detriment of anyone around them. In the context of the video game, a Gremlin just simply 'knows' how to operate any of a Marine's arsenal of weapons the moment it wraps its bloody claws around it. Arguably the most terrifying of a Gremlin's powers is its unholy ability to reproduce simply by devouring carrion. How the process works is beyond man's scientific understanding, but anytime a Gremlin consumes roughly a third of its own body weight in dead flesh, another Gremlin spontaneously 'pops' into existence nearby. As such, leaving even a single Gremlin alive and unmolested amidst the fallen, human or otherwise, can have catastrophic results. Several marines have made reports of returning to previously-secured areas only to find they had been repopulated with hordes of Gremlins while they were away. At first, it was thought that reinforcements were either being teleported in or gaining entry from some previously undiscovered access point, but subsequent video monitoring resulted in the discovery of this horrible means of reproduction.
These creatures suffer from acute kleptomania and find it extremely difficult to curb their larcenous tendencies. Stealing from the wrong person has resulted in the demise of many a Gremlin--the little fiends love telling the tragic story of one particularly stupid representative of their race, a fellow by the name of Grysh'nik, who thought it might be funny to steal the pins from their master Armagon's mechanical knee joints--Armagon was not amused, which leads us to the title of the Gremlins' second favorite bedtime story: Grysh'nik's Agonizing Ten-Day Demise. Just because a Gremlin knows how to operate a device, doesn't mean it will do so in a safe or sane manner. For example, a Gremlin will have a grand time playing with your stolen rocket launcher, but isn't likely to have a very good understanding of, or care about, the concepts of blast radius or collateral damage. The dangerous and lethal nature of Quake's environments (pits of lava, booby traps, and other unpleasantness), coupled with frequent fighting to the death between different monster species (battles which the relatively weak Gremlins are almost always on the losing end of), and a strict policy of not leaving fresh corpses lying about where the little fiends can easily find them, keeps the Gremlin population in check. However, without such safeguards, the Gremlin number situation could easily get out of control, something Armagon secretly fears, as even he could not withstand a large Gremlin army if they ever got it into their heads to rise up and overthrow him.
[Reference sketches/mid-construction photos of my Gremlin figure]
These are some process odds-and-ends from the construction of the shield. The first item is a paper mache skull mold that I sculpted to make multiple copies of the four skulls on the Empathy Shield (cuz, I was too darn lazy to make them individually). I just took some Play-Doh, stuck my skull mold into it four times, shot some hot glue into the impressions, and, after waiting a little while for them to cool (and cleaning them up), instant skulls. The second item is a chunk of 'hot glue and cardboard sandwich' that I used to punch all the rivets/bolts on the shield from with a hole puncher; I also cut some sections out of this for pieces of Armagon's legs as well.
My starting designs for Armagon's toy package and the box art for 'Shamblo's Bite-Size Gibs'. I used id Software's Quake art for the front of Armagon's card, the reverse side I designed with the GIMP art program. The box graphic design for 'Shamblo's Bite-Size Gibs' was also created using GIMP. I don't have easy access to a color printer, so I ended up printing these in black and white and then coloring them by hand, which is why the end result looks different.
These are the ten 'failed' proximity mines that I made prior to the final set of five. The first set, aside from being too big to even conceivably fit inside the launcher's barrel, weren't meeting the benchmarks I had set for myself--namely they had to stick, and stay, indefinitely, to magnetic surfaces at any angle. The bombs stuck to horizontal planes okay, but only one of them would stay on vertical surfaces. Considering the situation I determined the problem was one, or more, of the following: (1) They were too heavy; (2) the magnets, which were inside the spheres, weren't getting good enough contact to hold well through the spheres' walls; and (3) the shape of a sphere inherently results in very little of its exterior being in direct contact with any flat object it may be resting on, again resulting in poor attraction potential. Rather than mess with troubleshooting these problems individually, I solved them all at once with the design of my second set: (1) I made the spheres themselves smaller to reduce their weight and also decreased the size of the magnets for the same purpose; (2) I put the magnet directly on the outside of the sphere to improve contact; and (3) I flattened out the area of the sphere where the magnet is to provide a larger surface area for contact. So, hooray, my improvements worked and they finally stuck to magnetic objects at any angle. Um . . . then, why did I have to make a third set? I ruined the second set while burning the detail lines into them, which I foolishly attempted after I had painted them, instead of before (the dried paint clumped up all over the place around my woodburned lines and looked terrible).
For comparison purposes, below are two Gremlin images from the 'Quake: Scourge of Armagon' PC mission pack. The first shows a Gremlin with a stolen gun. The second photo depicts a Gremlin devouring the corpse of another, which will shortly result in the spawning of a brand new Gremlin.
1. Les Miskin (AKA 'Trilinear') for documentation, polygon models, screen shots, programs for manipulating .pak and .mdl files/decompressing .rar files, and gameplay insights. Les went above and beyond the call of duty to help me out during this project, which I greatly appreciate.
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