Enquirer Home Page | Twitter | Back to Improbable Island

 Forum Index > Season Two > Development New Topic Post Reply
 Illustrations?
 |  Printable Version
CavemanJoe
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 08:17 PM UTC (Read 8431 times)  
Forum Admin
Admin

Status: offline

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 2281

So I've been thinking lately about the possibility of having a few illustrations in the game.

Every time I've thought of this before, I've looked at everybody's representation of a spiderkitty and thought "No, they're all so different... that's gonna dictate how these things should look, and everyone's already decided for themselves how they look. I don't wanna tread on anyone's toes."

And then I look at The Watcher, and the things that I've described very clearly, and I think "Well, maybe. For some things."

Things like, perhaps, eBoy's trading station, or Sheila's Shack. I'm thinking in the opening sequences of the game, a nice picture of The Watcher leaning over you (from the player's perspective) and pushing her glasses up her nose. The guard in the box outside the Outpost. The kindly nurse brandishing her drill. And all of this in a classy presentation - either woodcuts or sepia tones or something like that.

Now, things we won't illustrate - monster encounters, the Improbability Drive itself, that sort of thing. Things that I've left undescribed enough that I'd be stepping on people's imagination by illustrating them.

How would you guys feel about the odd pretty picture?


 
Profile Email Website
Quote
Bernard
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 08:19 PM UTC  
Forum Improbable Badass
Improbable Badass

Status: offline

Registered: 10/26/08
Posts: 368

Quote by: CavemanJoe

So I've been thinking lately about the possibility of having a few illustrations in the game.

Every time I've thought of this before, I've looked at everybody's representation of a spiderkitty and thought "No, they're all so different... that's gonna dictate how these things should look, and everyone's already decided for themselves how they look. I don't wanna tread on anyone's toes."

And then I look at The Watcher, and the things that I've described very clearly, and I think "Well, maybe. For some things."

Things like, perhaps, eBoy's trading station, or Sheila's Shack. I'm thinking in the opening sequences of the game, a nice picture of The Watcher leaning over you (from the player's perspective) and pushing her glasses up her nose. The guard in the box outside the Outpost. The kindly nurse brandishing her drill. And all of this in a classy presentation - either woodcuts or sepia tones or something like that.

Now, things we won't illustrate - monster encounters, the Improbability Drive itself, that sort of thing. Things that I've left undescribed enough that I'd be stepping on people's imagination by illustrating them.

How would you guys feel about the odd pretty picture?



Can I say: No.

I have a vision of the world, and it's (i) all in my head (/i), and to be honest, along with the strange pictures of my granny chasing me around the yard with a bunch of parsnips, it should really stay there.

Oh bugger.


 
Profile Email
Quote
Mister Rawr
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 08:20 PM UTC  
Forum Contender
Contender


Status: offline

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 63

I'm certainly not opposed to them. While we're thinking about woodcutting or etchings or something along those lines, there are also ways of adding illustrations that still allow certain elements of them to be ambiguous, either through shadow or scribbly drawing or any number of other techniques.

Personally, I think those're the most fun.

~Rawr


 
Profile Email
Quote
Mr Geppetto
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 08:47 PM UTC  
Forum Badass
Badass

Status: offline

Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 79

If I may. Totally agree with Bernard. Well, they weren't parsnips, but a pot full of..uhm, nevermind.

Back to srz bzns. One of the things I love about this game, the one that made me stay, even before I started to even think about a character, and interacting, was that it's a text based adventure game. Even if and when something is described in detail, it still has a degree of freedom that no image, no matter how classy and beautiful and good can have. I know they say 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. But you know what the copywriter's reply to that is? It's: 'Yeah. Draw that.' So my answer, my very personal answer is: 'no'. Please.


 
Profile Email
Quote
Chimental
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 09:19 PM UTC  
Forum Improbable Badass
Improbable Badass

Status: offline

Registered: 06/30/09
Posts: 371

I actually wouldn't mind the pictures of some of the characters. While, yes, the monster encounters all look different to the public, you've painted a nice picture of the Watcher and some of the surroundings, and I would love to see the official Brain Juices of the creator of II on actual canvas. That and I would love to see some artwork made by you and the misses.

And guys who may say nay: just because Joe paints a picture of a character or a shop doesn't mean you have to shoot it down. Think of it more as a template. Joe paints a picture of Sheila's Shack and you can picture it being run by Robots in CC or full of actual shiny bits in Kitt. Joe draws the Hunter Lodge guard, and you can see him as an ornery midget in SH, or just a rotting corpse in NP. Think of the pics of the races in Official Art. Lovely pictures, but you guys don't follow their looks to the letter, do you?

And isn't there an option in the preferences that ask if you want illustrations or not? If you don't like the pics (when they come out), just turn them off. Plain and simple.

And I've said my peace.

Oh. And just for fun....


I make the many models of a mutant individual. To make them I use vegetables, animals, and minerals. From robot bugs to zombie bears to many singing barnacles.
 
Profile Email
Quote
Anonymous: June
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 09:47 PM UTC  


Well... I certainly wouldn't mind. It might take a little getting used to, yes, but so long as it didn't distract the eye too much, I can't say no. I've really enjoyed the artwork in the game thus far!


 
Quote
Shi
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 10:34 PM UTC  
Forum Contestant
Contestant

Status: offline

Registered: 02/03/10
Posts: 18

I can see why people'd be opposed. it's nice to have your own set visions of how things look, and pictures are never going to accurately reflect that. i know this cos i can't even draw how things look in my head. Wink
BUT i am also in favour of pretty pictures because i like them. so i'd be happy to see illustrations. i've had a minor idea in mind for character portraits for a while, so i can't exactly say otherwise. Big Grin


 
Profile Email
Quote
Iriana
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 10:41 PM UTC  
Forum Improbable Badass
Improbable Badass

Status: offline

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 250

I would have to say that I'm not fond of the illustrations idea--or they should be toggle...able. (Fairly sure that that's not a word.) I do like the fact that plain old text lets your brain do some of the work. To me this is why writing is so powerful; because it lets you make things your own, gives you freedom to see things in the way you want to see them.

But if you could toggle illustrations, that would be just dandy. Especially for people who play on their mobile phones, like I do sometimes--I have to turn off people's avatars because it's kind of painful navigating a phone browser through all those shiny little squares. Imagine having to scroll, pixel by pixel, down over the Watcher's face while your sad little cell phone sputters along.


 
Profile Email
Quote
Matthew
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 10:57 PM UTC  
Forum Improbable Badass
Improbable Badass

Status: offline

Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 578

Quote by: Iriana

Imagine having to scroll, pixel by pixel, down over the Watcher's face while your sad little cell phone sputters along.



Thank you for this mental image. It gave me a hearty guffaw.

I guess, on this, I'd be neutral-leaning-towards-no, for reasons already stated. Plus, another thing is bandwidth; how many times would this image be downloaded a day? Yeah, there's browser caching and all that, I realize, but it's still something to think about it. It'd probably still add up to a whole lot.


 
Profile Email
Quote
Mogar
 Monday, November 15 2010 @ 11:57 PM UTC  
Forum Badass
Badass

Status: offline

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 77

I also say no, because it may be deceptive to Rookies to see all these pictures of the Watcher, that Guard, the Implant Nurse, and a few other things early on and not see pictures of any of the monsters they come to encounter throughout the game, among other things, which they may expect to see. I suppose this could be a good or bad thing though, depending on how you look at it.

I also say no to illustrations of buildings and towns because I also have that whole image in my mind of how various buildings in various outposts look, and I enjoy my own odd perceptions of things. Also, even though we can toggle off illustrations, other contestants might not, and rookies certainly won't before they even know how to play the game. Once a good number of people know how different things and places "actually" look, they can RP using these details they can glean from the pictures. The images would be mostly inescapable, I feel.

However, I could definitely deal with a picture of the Watcher.


 
Profile Email
Quote
Ashtu
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 12:04 AM UTC  
Forum Improbable Badass
Improbable Badass

Status: offline

Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 440

When I first started reading this thread, my initial reaction was "What? Wait! noooooo! I have my OWN mental images, thank you very much!" Just like reading a book - 90% of the joy is creating the images of the world in your own head.

Then I went back and read CMJ's initial post, read back through the thread and thought about it again. And thought about the new pubs, with their signs swinging outside their doors.

I think I could approve of something along those lines - a small picture of The Watcher, when we go belowdecks - a picture of Corporal Punishment at Basic Training - the Cake Joker in AceHigh, etc. Minimal impingement on our own imaginations, but adding considerably to each area's ambiance.


Thank you.
 
Profile Email
Quote
Anonymous: dex
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 12:06 AM UTC  


I'm a big fan of illustration--if well done--and use 'em in work alllll the time, largely 'cos people don't read. But we want people to read (and write) here, no?

I'm also wondering if it sets up expectations. Like now, it's a text-based game. Add a few illustrations, will it become a game that's 'only got a few images.'

dexdexdex


 
Quote
Zolotisty
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 12:18 AM UTC  
Forum Moderator
Moderator

Status: offline

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 570

Last time we talked about this, it was primarily in the context of monster illustrations.

We've got fancy inventories now, with fancy little icons. We also have medals (which were never fully implemented, but hey). I'm also working on the side on very image-heavy modules -- an upcoming feature that Emily wrote and CMJ's coded, and another really excellent very exciting feature which will.. probably.. not.. be around until Season 3. Our new games in the pubs have lovely, lovely mockups of the machines to go along with. Our merch, when it happens, will have graphic elements.

So. Images are creeping into the game.

However, I'm of the crowd that says, 'rah rah, we're a text-based game, and people should be able to use their imaginations for the bulk of it.' I'm opposed to illustrations of characters and of monsters -- they would be out of place on the page, I think, and if you've got a handful of illustrations for major NPCs, it begins to beg the question as to why they aren't all over the place. Items, I take no issue with.

What I feel is ultimately more feasible, and interesting, are illustrations that are released in the context of sitewide events. Upcoming storylines for the Island will, potentially, give cause for a picture of the front page of the Enquirer, or some sort of poster mocked together by some Midget, or.. whatever. Ephemera like this would serve to enhance the game experience in a way that static illustrations of the Cake or Death Joker or the Watcher wouldn't -- makes the game more 'real' in a way, I think, instinctively.


BARK BARK BARK.
 
Profile Email
Quote
Hairy Mary
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 03:29 AM UTC  
Forum Improbable Badass
Improbable Badass

Status: offline

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 1083

Quote by: Iriana

--or they should be toggle...able. (Fairly sure that that's not a word.)



It is now.

Back to the subject, I don't know how representative I am, but this would make very little direct difference to me. If a picture contradicted previously held ideas, then my mental picture would change, probably within five minutes. For a deeply ingrained picture, maybe a day, two tops.

But then I'm not a very visual person, I can try and recall someone I was talking to thirty seconds ago, and have absolutely no idea what colour jumper they were wearing. So, there you go.


 
Profile Email
Quote
CavemanJoe
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 04:40 AM UTC  
Forum Admin
Admin

Status: offline

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 2281

Oh yes, we'd have a toggle switch. I'm thinking right now that we'd show an entry in the Prefs menu to disable illustrations entirely, to show them all the time, or to show them with a Javascript show/hide widget (like how the coin slot works). Like your chosen display skin it'd probably be stored in a cookie rather than in the database, so that people could show illustrations at home, but not at work (or on their phone).

I think there's something to be said for woodcuts. Or, perhaps, for more abstract pieces - for something, in other words, that shows the essence of what's going on without being explicit. Or, maybe, something totally surreal and exaggerated that you can't really substitute for your own mental picture, but that fits the theme nonetheless - I've always had a bit of a thing for the Monty Python vertical column grin (1:34 to 1:36 here) and when I picture Corporal Punishment, he's basically that grin atop a military uniform.

Sometimes I even wonder about pixel art, or ANSI art, or even ZX Spectrum art. Art that, in other words, might make you wonder how the thing, person or place being represented would look in real life.

(Z will know what I mean when I say "This would help with the Anya problem," but that's still top-secret)


 
Profile Email Website
Quote
CavemanJoe
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 04:42 AM UTC  
Forum Admin
Admin

Status: offline

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 2281

Quote by: Hairy+MaryIf a picture contradicted previously held ideas, then my mental picture would change,


Yeah, that's what I'd like to avoid.


 
Profile Email Website
Quote
CavemanJoe
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 04:48 AM UTC  
Forum Admin
Admin

Status: offline

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 2281

Quote by: Chimental

I actually wouldn't mind the pictures of some of the characters. While, yes, the monster encounters all look different to the public, you've painted a nice picture of the Watcher and some of the surroundings, and I would love to see the official Brain Juices of the creator of II on actual canvas. That and I would love to see some artwork made by you and the misses.

And guys who may say nay: just because Joe paints a picture of a character or a shop doesn't mean you have to shoot it down. Think of it more as a template. Joe paints a picture of Sheila's Shack and you can picture it being run by Robots in CC or full of actual shiny bits in Kitt. Joe draws the Hunter Lodge guard, and you can see him as an ornery midget in SH, or just a rotting corpse in NP. Think of the pics of the races in Official Art. Lovely pictures, but you guys don't follow their looks to the letter, do you?

And isn't there an option in the preferences that ask if you want illustrations or not? If you don't like the pics (when they come out), just turn them off. Plain and simple.

And I've said my peace.

Oh. And just for fun....



Oh, I should mention: I won't be drawing any of these, because I can't draw worth a damn. Dyspraxia, y'see. They'd have to be commissioned pieces.


 
Profile Email Website
Quote
CavemanJoe
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 04:51 AM UTC  
Forum Admin
Admin

Status: offline

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 2281

Quote by: Matthewhow many times would this image be downloaded a day? Yeah, there's browser caching and all that, I realize, but it's still something to think about it. It'd probably still add up to a whole lot.


We get through anything between a quarter and a half of a terabyte of data transfer per month. On average, 92% of that is text.

Thankfully, we're on unmetered data transfer. Smile


 
Profile Email Website
Quote
Awesome Fred
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 07:10 AM UTC  
Forum Improbable Badass
Improbable Badass

Status: offline

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 585

Oh, of course. Yet again, I find myself being the...

(deep voice with echo) FORUM CONTRARIAN!

I am for more pictures in game. Yes, you lose the individual mental picture that you created when you read the description of an item. But what you gain is consistency between the descriptions by the audience, and in a medium where the audience interacts with those story elements themselves, consistency is great.

I know I can't be the only one where when I read a fairly thorough description of what a person or place looks like, I haven't pictured 100% of what the text described. If a book says that Jim encounters a strange little fellow wearing with this fancy tattoo and that black earring and looks like a leprechaun because of his short stature and he has an ugly vertical-stripe green shirt with grass-stained jeans, and his brown hair is dangling in his face so often that he has to brush it back behind his ear every three minutes, and then it goes on for another ten pages, I will probably forget that the strange little fellow has a green shirt on. And then when someone fires Chekov's Gun and the dude is hiding in the tall green grass, and no one can find him, I wonder why is no one able to find him, until I backtrack and see, "Oh, he's camouflaged because his shirt is green."

Okay, not the best example, but I render winged flying creatures in my head without wings, I think that trolls look like elemental golems in books until the second read-through that they look very humanoid like giants or potatos, I am so totally off-base so often because some of the freedom my mind has with textual descriptions is the ability to forget or skim over details that make a difference.

Especially with creatures like gremlins, goblins, and trolls, the picture varies so much that you can imagine features on them that you might find later get contradicted. A picture provides a heavy schematic that says, "These goblins are generally green, never brown, their noses are pronounced, their ears hang out horizontally, etcetera."

I look at the pictures of the races in the Enquirer's gallery often, especially the robot, because the idea of glass skin but looking humanoid is so vague, there might be no two players with even a similar idea of how robots looked, if it weren't for those pictures in the Enquirer. Hell, for the longest time, I imagined the glass skin wasn't a transparent glass, and that the robots still were somewhat boxy and gray.

If CMJ were writing a book, sure. Sure, he doesn't need to put any pictures in that book. But he's making a game where players interact with typo gremlins, try to put fancy hats on Horatio while it blasts the contestant to smithereens because the hilarity is worth the risk, and parkour through rooftops of what then needs to be close-together houses. Just two weeks ago, I finally realized that Cyber City was supposed to be a whole bunch of heaps of scrap metal laying around inside the walls with very few buildings. For the majority of the time, I imagined perfectly smooth metal walkways kept clean by lesser machines, shiny reflective chrome buildings, and digital displays everywhere.

To remove contradictions and increase player-based storytelling that lies within canon, descriptions should be established a bit more firmly than it is now, and that can be done two ways: a lot more things to do which bring attention to the many details of a place or area (like visiting a Random Scrap Heap for some req scavenging per day) so that the presence of such a detail is firmly in a player's mind, or the simpler solution: illustrations.

I promise not to make too many posts in this thread.

PS: I might just be a single idiot who has no reading comprehension skills, and most people catch all the major details of a character or place all of the time.


 
Profile Email
Quote
Count Sessine
 Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 07:26 AM UTC  
Forum Moderator
Moderator

Status: offline

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 1402

The Scrapyard is there already, just through the gates. You'll find a big echoing train station inside, and an abandoned jet trainer, and mountains of scrap, and... um, okay, probably you should just ignore that big stainless steel housing with the hydraulic lift over there; the thing hasn't been used for a barbecue in a long time.


 
Profile Email
Quote
Content generated in: 0.68 seconds
New Topic Post Reply



 All times are UTC. The time is now 06:59 PM.

Normal Topic Normal Topic
Locked Topic Locked Topic
Sticky Topic Sticky Topic
New Post New Post
Sticky Topic W/ New Post Sticky Topic W/ New Post
Locked Topic W/ New Post Locked Topic W/ New Post
View Anonymous Posts 
Anonymous users can post 
Filtered HTML Allowed 
Censored Content