Category Archives: Process

purpleman

It’s almost ready and I’m almost ready

Oof this project did not go as fast as I thought I did.  Partly it was overconfidence and learning whatever I needed to learn to make this happen but recently it has also been about fear.  I find, professionally and artistically, that once I finish something, I just hate it.  It’s not that I think my work is bad, but once I finish that work and I know there’s nothing left to do to make it better, I’m just done.

For that reason it’s been a lot easier keeping everything going on the professional side, where other talented people take my work and do whatever needs to be done next, while I move on to the next thing.  I wish someone else could take Moon Devils and go all around and talk about how it’s the greatest thing ever, because I’ve never been particularly good at that bit, and I know in my heart it’s not quite as great as I envisioned.

Fortunately there’s also a part after you’ve finished something where it takes on a life of its own and is separate from you.  You still see its flaws but can reflect upon it with affection and admiration.  You never really get to be a fan of it, but you at least get to feel like you are offering a product and not a piece of yourself, and whatever happens next won’t kill you.

martian-faces

Faces of MARS

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.

night-devils

How the game works

I’m about half way through the prototype of the game.  It will hopefully be ready by the end of the month for my testing group.  I’m excited because I’ve never produced such a complicated block of code before.  Career wise I am more of a designer than a programmer, so I’ve entered an exciting honeymoon stage where I program something, then I’m completely blown away when it works.

This seems as good a time as any to explain how the game works, now that I’ve almost got it working for real.

You play as the Lieutenant, the leader of a small shuttle crew.  At the beginning of the game you and your crew-mates The Priestess, The Martian, The Scientist and The Droid, are stranded on an uncharted moon.  After five days of adventure, you and your crew will attempt to blast off and escape.  Hopefully you’ll make it out with everyone on board, but most likely you won’t be so lucky.

There are many dangers on the moon, most visibly the hordes and hordes of mute fanged devils that are constantly trying to kill you.  If your health score runs low, attacks by the devils and other dangers might conceivably kill you.  You can defend yourself and keep yourself safe using equipment like your blaster, scanner and defibrillator, but be careful, you also have an energy score that can become depleted if you do too much.

During the day you may accompany your crew men on adventures, or strike out on your own.  While in the field you and your crew are in constant danger of attack.  When you return to your  shuttle at night, you’ll experience an en masse devil attacks.  Tending to your safety and security scores will help slow these attacks.

In the midst of all this violence and hopelessness, there are stories.  As you explore this strange new world, you’ll follow strains of interconnected stories.  The story is too big to be encompassed in one play through, but every time you play you’ll learn more about the moon, its mysterious workings and maybe the destiny of the human race.

I hope you’re as excited to play this as I am!

trunks

Gross Trees

Here’s some imagery from the forest you’ll encounter in March of the Moon Devils.  The forest is one of four areas you can explore in the game.  I wanted to create a kind of anti-forest here.  Instead of producing growth, the trees of this forest produce some kind of topiary of sludge, which one can only assume is toxic.

mutants2

OCD works for me

Pretty soon I’m going to start selling my book – I’m Crazy – again to help raise money for Moon Devils.  For those in the know I’m Crazy was an autobiographical graphic novel about having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  I’ve also been working on this little number above, which is a neat crossover between my art and my anxiety disorder.

OCD manifests itself as extreme anxiety over things you can not possibly control, followed by repetitive behaviors and practices that calm the anxiety.  For instance, some people with OCD wash their hands several times a day, or become obsessed with organizing and straightening their things.  As for me, I make a lot of lists and spreadsheets, which is actually sometimes very useful.

What you see above is the product of a particular rigorous spreadsheet challenge.  First I made a list of notable Marvel mutants, then I created a spreadsheet organizing them by color scheme.  Eventually this will become a huge poster organizing 100 marvel mutants, placing each mutant at the vertex of two colors.

I figure if you are going to have an anxiety disorder you should try and be productive about it.