With the prototype finished I’ve begun the process of finishing all the imagery for the game. This involves drawing the characters over and over again. The above picture is from a series of panels that appear when you contact the Martian throughout the day.
After working on black and white comics for years I’m afraid I’m going a bit bezerk with the colour, but I think it works. This kind of flat, bright colour scheme reminds me of a happy memory from my childhood. I was staying at my Aunt’s cottage on Fox Lake (in Northern Ontario). We got in too late to actually see the inside of the cottage, so we went to bed in complete darkness.
When I awoke the next day I discovered my bed was facing an amazing Star Wars vintage bath towel. Thanks to artistic license (or maybe limitations on how many colours were available for bath towel ink or whatever), everyone was insanely crayola coloured. Luke’s bare chest was bright orange, Chewbacca was a rich purple and Darth Vader was electric blue. I thought holy shit, who are these people? I didn’t actually see Star Wars until I was a teenager and I thought it was great, but nothing compared to that toxic disco freakout promised by that towel.
When the game was first being developed there was no code or visuals, just me. I would visit people with a bottle of wine and a notebook, then talk them through their entire adventure, recording their stats and choices as I went. I always had the hardest time describing the Priestess – “um, she has really big hair, she’s kind of exotic looking, she maybe has psychic powers ..” One astute nerd immediately cut me off and said “oh, she’s like Deana Troi.” Then he wrinkled his nose and said “she sounds useless.”
Well she’s not I tell you. In the game the Priestess unlocks vital health bonuses, unravels the secret of the temple and offers a unique perspective on the world of the game. Also, though there are ways to have sex with all your crew mates, her sex scene is probably the most pleasing in the conventional sense.
There is always some surly malcontent fixing everybody’s tools, or waving a thing around a device around talking about time fluxes or dimensional portals. This character is The Scientist.
In order for the game to work visually I had to keep the characters as streamlined as possible, so I tried to limit the amount of gadgets and tools they used. The Scientist presented a problem as his sweet jumpsuit prevented him from having any tools visible on his person. The solution was his extra bulky glasses and gloves. Thanks to futuristic technology he can use the gloves to scan his surroundings and record his findings.
I had this breakthrough on a beach and was enthusiastically sketching the gloves when a handsome man sat down beside me. He asked me if I found the beach sights “inspiring” and I said “no, not really, but I did figure out something cool about this guy’s gloves ..” After listening for a few minutes he nodded politely and walked over to the next towel. It was only then that it struck me that he might be into me.
Oh well, another potential romance ruined by science fiction. Here he is being eaten by the moon devils.
The Martian is my favorite character to draw. She was initially inspired by the Lisa-Marie’s career defining turn as the Martian Girl in Mars Attacks. I loved Lisa Marie’s balance of sexiness and creepiness. Come to think of it, my adolescence was full of sexy lady characters who were also some sort of horrifying creature.
As the game evolved, she became the warrior character. I started drawing her in more action poses and as I went her body started changing. She became thicker and stockier, less like she was going to confuzzle you with her Martian whiles and more like she would just tackle you and fuck you up.
The Lieutenant is the star of the show and your avatar in the game. I would like to say I put a lot of research into his look, but the look was actually finalized over a decade ago.
In grade one or two all our school notes would go in a different coloured notebook (cahier? Am I thinking of a cahier?). The pink one was a journal where I wrote and illustrated short stories. My friends and I would hang out in a series of shrubs that we pretended were spaceships. My illustration of my friend Brian as our ship’s captain was spot on exactly what I wanted the Lieutenant to look like. Pure white jumpsuit, helmet of hair, super soaker gun.