Posts Tagged ‘background art’

Try It, Try It, And You May!

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

We’ve all thought it: if only all of the world’s problems could be solved by cheesecake.  While largely a fanciful wish, the premise is not as far-fetched as you might presume, especially when it comes to game design!  A while back I noticed my wife’s recipe cards -one of them has her grandma’s famous cheesecake recipe, mmmmm…..    Sorry, where was I?  I noticed that those 3 x 5 inch cards were approximately the same ratio as my game resolution!  Suddenly I no longer had to laboriously measure out the proper ratio on a bigger sheet of paper before sketching a draft background, which I found immensely liberating.  And those little cards -you know the type, ubiquitous for recipes and school speech crib notes – they fit perfectly in your back pocket so you can carry them anywhere!  I get a break at work, out comes a card.  Some downtime at the in-laws, out comes a card.  The only downside to date has been laundry day, since I’ve not trained myself to search my back-pockets as rigorously as the front ones.

By cutting off just a finger’s width of space from the bottom of the card (useful for meta-information like the screen’s number in the AGS development environment, etc.) these 3×5 cards have the perfect proportions for sketching adventure game backgrounds. Further, since it is so convenient to store these cards, I haven’t been misplacing my sketches in “the pile” like I used to. This, in turn, has led me to recording useful information right on the background sketch, like entrance and exit co-ordinates, which has sped up the coding required to make the background functional within the game.

I’ve chosen to use the above card as an example since my actual background design has yet to deviate from it (details pending). Check it out below:

The hamlet of Nearwald is populated by a few peasant folk who have so far survived a mysterious plague. Eventually more details, textures and animations will make this scene complete, but for now note how easily the background followed from the sketch.

I am very excited about this new method. Easier and more convenient sketching means that I can sketch more, and more sketches translates into greater choice of background elements. It makes my backgrounds better because I have more ideas to choose from. So if you’re a game developer or thinking about trying your hand at it (just sayin’…. everyone who has commented here so far are known developers), then why not give this method a shot?  The results could be sweet like cheesecake!