30 March 2013

Art Process

I was going through the files and ran into some work sketches, which we usually didn’t save. So I can show a bit of our process for creating art.

King of Dragon Pass had three separate art styles (plus interface art), so there wasn’t a single process. This is the basics of how we worked with Stefano Gaudiano to create artwork relating to the present (as opposed to the Otherworld or history).

A scene’s writer (usually Robin Laws) would come up with basic art direction. I (David Dunham) might expand on it, and pass it off to Stefano as Art Director.
R257: A prosperously-attired female carl from the Prosperous Clan (R90) comes to tell us of an attack on her cattle by a fearsome creature called a walktapus. A walktapus is a humanoid creature with an octopus for a head; its skin is mottled and wrinkly like an octopus, but it walks on land. The walktapus has attacked a typical shaggy cow and has its tentacles wrapped around the beast, while carls from this other clan look on in horror, too scared to fight it.
Stefano would get someone to make a loose thumbnail sketch in pencil. (These varied in size; the ones I found were 3 to a standard sheet of paper.) This served to make sure the writers had communicated to the artists, and as a quick way to iterate the design. Elise Bowditch and I reviewed all the thumbnails with Stefano. Sometimes there were small changes (to bring out important elements of the scene, make sure that there was room for text, or emphasize something interesting the artists had come up with). Unfortunately, I don’t know who did this thumbnail.

Once the thumbnail was approved, Stefano assigned it to an artist to create full-sized (9 x 5 1/8 inch) pencils. We’d get these by fax, since there usually wasn’t much discussion at this point, and we could usually give feedback by fax or verbally. Again, I don’t know who did the pencils for R257.

When the pencils were approved, Stefano inked them, then gave them to a colorist (Mike Christian and Brian Sendelbach did most of the coloring). Note that this scene is in flashback style, where the event occurred in the recent past.

Stefano would then do any additional work (such as adding the embroidery on the woman’s overdress). He scanned these images and sometimes made color adjustments or small edits with Photoshop.

18 March 2013

30K Sale(s)

text: We’re very pleased to let you know that our <d3:unique/distinctive/indie> game King of Dragon Pass has sold over 30000 copies in the App Store! To celebrate, we’re putting the game on sale for 30% off, for three days.
music: "WeDidIt"
price = price * 0.7 # 30% off
trigger code_SaleOver 3  # Sale ends in 3 days

Response 1: Buy Now!
.fun += 1000
.goods -= 7
text: Clan members were heard saying things such as “<d3:This is undoubtedly the best rpg game on iOS./This game is simply brilliant./I must have put in 30 hours by now.>”

Response 2: Wait 3 days for the regular price, to support the developers.
.fun += 1000
.goods -= 10
text: Clan members could be heard saying such things as: “d3:A game with more depth and heart than you can shake a stick at./Thank you dev team for such a great game that I will be playing for years to come!/Congrats to the developers on making something so different and downright fun.>”

Response 3: Send messengers to nearby clans to let them know.
foreach c in NearbyClans
c.fun += 1000
aSharp.obligations += 1

Response 4: Get the Windows version on GOG.com.
text: Clan members were sad that we had no iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. But they praised the ring for finding another way.
.fun += 999

Response 5: Ignore the opportunity.
text: Clan members shook their heads and muttered darkly about the foolish decisions their leaders were making.
.mood -= 25

[Storytelling] Get this game. It’s tribal politics and role playing at its best. Play it as if you are in the shoes of your clan leader or as you wish yourself; whatever brings you into the world, live it. You will not regret a thing. [1234]

16 March 2013

Troll Hero Preview

As you may know, we’re hoping to make a fairly large number of new scenes for a King of Dragon Pass update. We do have a constraint: there is no art pipeline the way there was in the original, so we are repurposing existing art. This isn’t actually a new thing — we reused artwork rather than commission art for the over 500 scenes in the original. (There are “only” about 420 illustrations earmarked for scenes.) After all, it makes sense that Sora Goodseller looks the same each time she visits (though she actually has a second piece of art).

One of the design goals for this update was to make use of artwork that may not be commonly seen, such as a scene that occurs as a direct consequence of a previous scene (i.e. a story branch). Here is one of them, a visit from a troll hero.

To write this scene, I consulted with the world’s foremost uzologist, Dan McCluskey. (I had to cut some of the finer points of troll behavior since you are seeing this from the human viewpoint.)

This scene has some internal branching, so it was a bit time-consuming to code, but it’s now ready, and got a good response from initial testing. Now we need to perform more rigorous QA, making sure each of the branches works.

This is the 11th new scene. Others are in progress, though I don’t know if I’ll really end up with all 29 I have ideas for.