Tag Archives: art

Topics Too Small to Blog About

I’ve been reading The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design. I’ve been tie-dying shirts. I’ve been experimenting with GameMaker for the Mac, getting test libraries compiling in XCode, and making a simple version of Space Invaders in Scratch.

No single one of these things has turned into a project that was quite enough to write about. Either that, or I’m just having trouble writing lately. Could be both!

Railroad Junctions are Hard

Closeup of Rolling Control boardToday’s project was finishing graphic design for Rolling Control, the game my team made at the Fall 2011 Cardboard Game Jam. I just want to say for the record that drawing railroad junctions is a pain in the rump.

Railroad track? No problem. Good tools exist for taking a repeating pattern and laying it along whatever curve you want (I used mostly Inkscape for the Rolling Control components). The problem is, at a junction, you can’t just overlay one track on the other, because you end up with railroad ties stacked on top of other railroad ties, which looks (A) fake and (B) busy. So it’s off to the Web to see how those things are really put together.

Luckily, there’s a fair amount of symmetry in the Rolling Control board (even after the asymmetries I threw in to avoid 3-way railroad junctions). So I did just portions of the board before mirror-imaging and rotating copies my labor intensive junctions into place.

I may be in a perfectionist frenzy, but I’m no hero.

“We Calls Her that to be Polite”

Today, in honor of Gary Gygax’s birthday, I return to my Dungeons & Dragons-based character sketches. This entry is the first based on a character I’ve actually already used in a game: the sea hag pirate, Cap’n No-Beard.

Cap'n No-BeardNo-Beard is based on a fairly simple concept of synergy between monster types. On the one hand, the sea hag, with her debilitating gaze attack. On the other, the eyeless grimlocks, who will be her crew. Perhaps not the best sailors in the world, but a terror in midnight raids. Continue reading “We Calls Her that to be Polite”

The Stock Market

To look reasonably professional, a character description for RPGs needs a portrait (there are exceptions, such as minor characters imbedded in a larger work, but I want to mostly work on these things one at a time). That means sourcing artwork. I can’t draw, and I’m not interested in commissioning art for a noncommercial project, so stock art it is.

Terrible Character Portrait 'Zombie 3'As it happens, there’s a wide selection of stock art available, targeted at the indie RPG market. I’m going to be starting with Jeff Preston’s 108 Terrible Character Portraits, which is a collection that combines two virtues: skillful artwork, and being already been paid for. The whole thing was a Kickstarter campaign originally titled 60 Terrible Character Portraits For Creative Commons Release. As the inflation in the title suggests, the Kickstarter campaign greatly exceeded its goal, producing proportionately more artwork as it did so.

Being aimed at the commercial reuse market, it comes with nearly the most minimal of licenses, the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. This says you have to credit the creator, provide a link to the license, and that’s basically it.

I heartily approve of the whole project. Should I discover another similar effort in the future, I’ll have to pay it forward.