This blog is where i will post first looks, concept art, and inspiration for my science fiction book (The Twisted Strand) and its alternate-universe sister series (Citadels of...). I'll also post bits and pieces of the conlangs that will be included in the stories. it's quickly becoming a multi-part series, so if you're interested, follow to see little bits and pieces of my thought process as the stories come together.
pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel, pixel…
still a lot of little things to adjust, but i’ve finished the broad strokes of the main character’s walk cycle.
of course, i intend on having a run mechanic in the game, so i have to do a running animation too. so that’ll be fun.
some very rough drafts of the sprites for Citadels of the New Collective, which i have decided to really start working on in the past week.
the girl with the colorful jacket is Pasath, the player character (the color is part of an emotion-based gameplay element). the guy with the capey shawl thing is her father Kavo (a religious leader), and the woman with the other kind of capey shawl is her mother Ukavya. Kavo’s hair will be the high topknot style in the third picture rather than the …hairstyle… in the second picture. i haven’t figured out a name for the little floating robot.
the Common Pip (little blob) and the Common Gel (big blob) are the first two stages of the life cycle of plants on the planet they’re colonizing.
walk cycles are hard.
still need to work on a few details. her book, and her chair, do a little environmental shading. but once i finish that, this might make it onto the first couple pages of Infomorph.
this is two sittings, maybe three to five hours. if i really work at this, i might be able to put out a pretty large page every week or two. that’s a pretty good schedule. i’ve seen webcomics that post a lot less often meet with success.
that’s pretty exciting to me.
Morgan is the first character you’ll see in The Twisted Strand. she’s the main character in Infomorph. right now i’m just trying to work on my art style, but i think she’ll look a lot like this.
she’ll have pants and a book later, i forgot to draw them. on a semi-related note, i’m not sure if i want to include nudity in my work. it’s not a terribly important topic in Infomorph, but i’m a very body-positive person. plus, who doesn’t like drawing naked people? a couple later stories are going to deal with sex and relationships, and health issues like breast cancer. those are situations where non-pornographic nudity could still be a pertinent part of the story, and even places where, for instance, a realistic depiction of the stages of breast cancer could be a way for people to gain awareness. but those things can still be portrayed without showing anything and it would limit my audience if i were to include it. then again, i never really intended to aim my work at children, there are a lot of things to consider.
i have a while before those topics are even going to come up, so i have time to decide. it helps that drawing is hard and takes a long time. maybe my followers could help me with some input. what do you think, does PG-13 nudity have a place in a fairly serious Sci-Fi storyline?
apparently i am starting a new conlang i guess.
it will be the language written on magic circles and sigils in Citadels of…
so far i have this abjad put together.
in order from right to left (the direction the text reads), the phonemes for the larger letters are
[p, m, ʌ, k, t, f, l, s, n, r] [ɾ n s l ʃ θ h ʌ m f] lol changed it, and the vowel diacritics are [u, o, i, e, a]. consonants will become voiced intervocalically.
the letterforms were all chosen by going through unicode and picking the swirliest looking letters i could find that fit a few limiting criteria, then stylizing them. i know that’s kind of a lazy way to do it and i don’t care, because look at how pretty this is.
my massive revisions to the magic system have led to this: each of the eight elements has a low power spell and a high power spell. each type of magic could be easily picked by using a thumbstick. i’ve even made a few tweaks to the logography i made for it.
can you figure out what any of the symbols mean?
so i had 20 different types of magic in two tiers with a bunch of them not really fleshed out, and it was so complicated that every time i tried to explain it to anyone, they were completely confused.
so i compressed everything down into 8 types of magic. the other story elements that were previously supported by a type of magic are now supported by every player character having one innate ability and some special moves.
i’ll have to rewrite a lot of the story, dungeons, and gameplay points in Citadels of Ilsim, which i’ve been working on for about 5 years now. that’s the toughest part. but without this huge revamp of the magic system, my games would have been a miserable clusterfuck of confusing jargon. i want these to be “pick up and play” easy. and without a simple magic system in a magic-based series, they’d all be dead on arrival.
so far, apart from the sentiment of chopping up the ideas i’ve had in my head for years, i’m really satisfied with the elements i have now. there’s still a lot of room for nuance and variation, and it’s less than half the complexity. i’m glad i re-worked it.
it’s a fighting game where the fighters battle hand-to-hand, with additional magical super moves (Mythics)
and magical combo moves (Arcane Arts)* in a tournament for superiority over the Seven Masters, a group of powerful magic fighters.
i can’t quite come up with a title that i like, but for now my working title is “Citadels of Rixin’s Forge.” Rixin is the most powerful of the Seven Masters, and the one who forged the seals.
The seven seals will also make appearances in games set after this title, as either power-ups of McGuffins of some sort. i already knew i wanted seven collectible items in Citadels of Ilsim, and in thinking up their backstory, the idea for this game popped out.
i feel like fighting games and magic have rarely mixed, at least in the same way that i intend on mixing them. hopefully it’ll make for an interesting twist on a few common gameplay elements.
*[EDIT: Arcane Arts were scrapped in my June ‘13 revamp of the magic system.]
i just changed j to y. i didn’t change the sound it’s assigned to, it’s still a palatal approximant. but it has been bugging me for a few months that j is so much more variable in its pronunciation than y. in English, j can represent [j], [ʒ], [d͡ʒ], and sometimes even [h]. but y is almost always [j] or [i] in English, and in other languages the only other option is usually just [y] which is a lot less confusing, especially considering [y] is not a phoneme in Tsrul.
changing orthography is hard when you have a big dictionary with 350 instances of the letter j in it.
i don’t want to fix it in my book wahhh
Environment Challenge #2 (redo) Urban
i was pretty satisfied with my swamp drawing, so i skipped to the urban one. my city-drawing still needs work. probably would have helped if i looked up reference pictures, but whatever.
i need to get into the habit of drawing every single day. even if i don’t feel like it that day. today was one of those days.
day 3 - urban
kinda wish i’d gone with a daylight scene, because i didn’t challenge myself with this one. maybe i’ll just do this challenge again at some point later in the year. but i’m also learning a new painting program, so i’m not gonna get too hung up about it.
things i learned from this drawing
- GIMP doesn’t play nice with a Wacom stylus unless you make it
- what the hell is going on with the lasso tool oh my god
day 2 - Swamp
i’m a lot more satisfied with this one than yesterday’s drawing. i went way over 10 minutes on the shading and details section, and i might just make it a half hour for a total of one hour for every drawing.
what i learned from today’s drawing: as much as i don’t want to spend the money, i need a better processor for my computer. the way i want to draw fog, clouds, and gas is just not gonna work with Manga Studio unless my computer can handle rendering larger brushstrokes. that’s a bummer.