A friend once told me (or was I just listening to people talk on a podcast? It doesn't matter) that getting into and staying in the habit of jogging is easy, as long as you never stop. While my sedentary husk knows almost nothing about exercise, I can testify it feels similar with drawing. If you haven't done it in a while, or if you haven't used a certain medium in some time, it's a major struggle to get yourself back up to speed. As with painting (or in this case digital painting), thinking in color is much different than the usual black and white ink drawing. Being someone who doesn't like cheap Photoshop tricks and shortcuts either, I'm stubbornly doing as much as I can manually, AKA the hard way. (If I could've built the world using colored pencils I would.) Historically I've gotten no shortage of nasty looks when I tell my peers and padawans about my distaste for digital trickery. So uncivilized!
But enough of that. Here are some more placeholder backgrounds for Complex, our real time strategy farming, racing and casino mini-game collection. (One or more of those may not be accurate. Depends on our mood.) Today's first sketch, a somewhat chunky diorama, is the main character's home. This "room" is designed to take up about 4 screen widths and, as you can see, features world navigation where you can enter into the foreground and background to reach new areas. While it's a strictly 2D game, one of my personal goals is to make the world entirely comprehensible in a 3D space. So, one road leads to that barn in the background, which you can go into. You can enter the house or go a number of other places on the property through this "crossroad". I like that.
This next image set takes up about two screen widths and is being carefully measured to create a "parallax" effect. We've still got tweaking to do, but basically that means that as you navigate from one side to the other, the far background will move at different speeds to (hopefully) strengthen the illusion of depth. The mountains might move a little bit, and the clouds even less. Not to sound like a broken record but it's super, super important to me that the audience feels like this is a real place and not just a playground of shapes. I will also say that those far mountains in the background contain something very important to the story. Complex, one might say.
It all looks very rough, still, but I hope the "essence" of these locations translate well enough. Eventually I'm going to need to buy a stronger computer to let me "paint" the final versions at a larger size. We might even include animation (like grass swaying) if that's feasible. Time is going to be a factor here. Also, while I'm updating, here's a snapshot of some almost-finished Partial Quest art:
That's it for this
afternoon. Time for a haircut and a shower. -_-
February 8, 2015 - Horror Games Brainstorming Conference
This month we plunge into
one of the darkest depths of games development, where light and hope
The conference room. Can you survive the terror within on this
beautiful Sunday morning?!
February 6, 2015 - If You're Into This Sort of Thing
Here's another project I'm pleased to be working on. It's a mobile RPG (with hearty rogue-like dungeon-crawlish flavors) for release on android/iOS and all that. (I understand a PC port is also likely.) I'm handling art duties primarily, with some extra design on the side including story and minor gameplay/interface stuff. It's a sharp, sweet game which I've played, thoroughly enjoyed, and can easily recommend with a clear conscience. Stylistically, Partial Quest is going to look like an elaborately illustrated tabletop game. Almost every asset will have been drawn with pen on paper to give it a warm, hand-made feel. We're aiming for a release in March. In the meantime my teammate John has written up a project update at IndieDB and there should be more soon. If you like, please check it out! Tell your friends, even? I don't know, man.
"This is a lot to be working on, isn't it?" One may ask. Perhaps, perhaps - but you'd be amazed at how much stamina you have when you're consumed by the creative spirit. These past few months have been the first in years when I've really stretched my creative muscles. With nothing but my own strength holding me back I feel like a wild artist monk, submerged in self-imposed exile with fire in his eyes, drawing up a storm. This is gonna be fun! =D
February 4, 2015 - Happy Little Clouds
Painting would be so much fun, if it weren't so scary. XD For anyone interested, below are two pretty little quasi-backgrounds which players of Complex will be able to explore someday. They're unfinished, obviously - the hope here is to capture the "essence" of the settings; concept art that you can walk around in. Tests have been promising. I look forward to the day when everything's ironed out to the point where I feel completely immersed in the game world. See that house in the background of the first image? You can go there. See that outhouse in the second image? You can go there too (if you catch my meaning). Maybe the game is actually a rocket ship simulator? I won't say.
There should be more news
later this week about another project I'm part of. Something a bit more...
concise, but worthy all the same. I'm looking forward to this year! It's
been super busy so far and there's a lot of work to be done - it'll be a
delight to see some of this stuff bear fruit. (Note: I haven't forgotten
about Bite-Size... just... gotta... find some time. >_<)
February 2 - 2015 - Sigh
Hearing about bad news
happening to friends, I figured I should pull the link to the next journal
entry re: my trip to Japan last year. I'll put it back another time. =(