Just a quick update on my progress. I’ve taken a month off to build the framework of the game. This involves a lot of coding, a lot of wearing pyjamas and a lot of watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000 while I draw.
It’s really really terrific of my employers to give me the time off, but it’s definitely been a weird time. While it would be a dream to do this sort of thing full time, having this one month and then preparing to go back to work makes me feel like every minute is precious. As a result, my overdrive sessions have me up really late and night and getting up progressively later the next day. Right now I’m generally going to bed at 5 in the morning and waking up around 2. I will definitely have to readjust this before I go back to work.
This all reminds me of a guy I had a serious crush on in my first year university. During his time working as a restock boy at the beer store, he confided in me that he became completely nocturnal, rising at night and sleeping all day. This seemed so cool and glamorous to me back then. Now here I am, living the dream.
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.
It’s taken some time, but the prototype for March of the Moon Devils is complete. This means that the game works, but has no content yet. It’s just a collection of brief descriptions of the events in the game, and the choose your own adventure mechanics that powers it.
In this form it reminds me a lot of of one of the first computer games I ever played on my Commodore 64. Who even knows what this game was called, but basically it would offer you a really florid paragraph about where you were and what was going on, and you would either press A to go right and B to go left.
I played this for several hours, piecing it together that the blocks of text represented a virtual map. Press A – You have entered The Library. Press B – You have entered the cellar. Except one unfortunate B keystroke yielded this ..
YOU HAVE ENTERED HELL
Followed by a multi-paragraph description of the torments of hell, a subject which I was completely unfamiliar. Just by pressing B I learned that after people die there’s a good chance they will face eternal agony in an endless underworld.
And somehow the fact it was just white text on a blue background made it even scarier. There wasn’t even a picture to give it context, just a bleak message from an unknown source, confirming the existence of something so beyond my mortal ken I didn’t even know I was suppose to fear it.
Anyway there will definitely by pictures in Moon Devils, but it’s also mostly picking from a selection of risky choices. With any luck the game will reach some innocent ten year old and traumatized them. Here’s hoping.