Saturday, January 19, 2013

Since Last We Met (#5)

The positive luckily continues to outweigh the negative in life, and things are slowly starting to fit together in a manageable way. Over six posts I intend to highlight some of the progress I've made, show you sneak-peeks, and share useful tips I've picked up along the way.
 
#1: Work
#2: Novel-writing
#3: Book illustrations
#4: Painting
#5: Game Design
#6: Random Experiences
 
#5: Games are fun to work on, but they are work nonetheless. My husband runs his own little company, Fridgecrisis Games, and while he's good at pretty much everything he touches, even he can't do everything by himself. So I'm helping him out with Dungeonball.
 

Dungeonball is as it sounds--roaming a dungeon, slaying opposing team members, with the ultimate goal of scoring points with a special ball. And before you ask, NO. It is not based on Dungeonbowl, which is a boring, technical fantasy football game with orcs. But I can see why you might be confused. The title Dungeonball may or may not stick.

Dungeonball is an asymmetrical game, with one person playing as heroes and the other as monsters. The heroes have 4 members total, while the monster player may have up to 13 out on the field at once! It's a tricky thing to balance a game like this, but we think we're pretty dang close to being finished. Finally. At least as far as gameplay goes. As far as the artwork, I've been drawing little dudes like crazy. And even though I know most of them won't be included in the game, I thought it would be fun to better my drawing skill by creating each race/class combination for the heroes.

So here we have an undead, human, feline, and dragon, all magic users. (And you can see they're all in different levels of development...) This means I'm throwing way more into it than necessary, but ya know, it's also fun. 
 
But this is not all rainbows and cuteness. Remember what I said about work? Yeah, there's a lot of that going into making a game. There's a lot of tweaking little things, random stuff that pops up while playtesting. Playtesting... is kind of a misnomer. It's fun to sit down and play the thing, once it's functional, but more often than not there's something wrong and you try to fix it and some other problem pops up and you give and get advice and try it again and again and again until finally it seems just right but then someone else plays with you and it's broken. It's frustrating and hard and repetitive. Very repetitive.

I'm not much of a playtester. I don't think I'd like being QA on a video game, because instead of getting to enjoy the game for what it is, you're going out of your way to break it, over and over and over again. So I have to apologize to my husband for dragging my feet when he wants to test his game. 

Don't get me wrong--I LOVE Dungeonball. If I didn't, I wouldn't be drawing for it. But I'll leave the game design to those capable people over at the Board Game Designers Guild of Utah. Some people are meant to do this stuff.

I am simply not one of them.

-Tsira

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Since Last We Met (#4)

The positive luckily continues to outweigh the negative in life, and things are slowly starting to fit together in a manageable way. Over six posts I intend to highlight some of the progress I've made, show you sneak-peeks, and share useful tips I've picked up along the way.
 
#1: Work
#2: Novel-writing
#3: Book illustrations
#4: Painting
#5: Game Design
#6: Random Experiences
 
#4. Painting has always been one of those things that I wanted to do but never could. It may be a tad embarrassing to admit, but I used to love watching those painting shows like with Bob Ross or other such artists sharing their techniques. My mom had acrylics for painting ceramics she'd gotten at the craft store, but the most I'd ever done was paint pine trees for her Christmas village, and she was very protective of her fine-stroke brushes. In all my art classes, I'd barely touched a brush. (For me, the weapon of choice was the pencil.)
 
But when my husband and I decided to get Super Dungeon Explore, I knew I HAD to paint the figurines. A whole year later, I've even almost finished the first set--just in time for the expansion. *sigh* It's tons of fun, but also a ton of work. And I've definitely given myself plenty of it.
 
I only had to redo her mouth twice. Hooray!
 
Lessons for painters: 
  • Paint the hard-to-reach places first, like the underarms and such, because if you have to come back later, you may get that color on something that would already have been done.
  • Brushes need to be stiff. Really stiff. 
  • Wet the brush first. 
  • Don't get paint more than 2/3 of the way up the hairs, or it'll gum it up... and it's basically impossible to get out. So don't do it.
  • Don't freak out if you make a mistake. With paint, you can even cover black with white. 
  • If you want it to look nice, you'll need 2 or 3... or maybe even 6 coats of paint, depending on the color's consistency. (Curse you, yellow!)
  • It can give you a headache to squint at a quarter-sized dude for an hour straight, so get up, walk around, and go to the bathroom once in a while. 
  • Listen to music. Because you know you want to.
  • Eat something before you begin--it calms shaky hand syndrome. Really.
-Tsira

Friday, January 4, 2013

Since Last We Met (#3)

The positive luckily continues to outweigh the negative in life, and things are slowly starting to fit together in a manageable way. Over six posts I intend to highlight some of the progress I've made, show you sneak-peeks, and share useful tips I've picked up along the way.

#1: Work
#2: Novel-writing
#3: Book illustrations
#4: Painting
#5: Game Design
#6: Random Experiences
 #3: Story time. 

Once upon a season ago, in the faraway kingdom of Salt Lake, there lived a girl named Rachel who loved a good story more than... well, pretty much anything. This Rachel happened to have some talent in creative arts, and an interest in writing. So she decided to attend a speculative fiction writing group. At this group Rachel met many wonderful people who liked her stories and shared some fantastic tales of their own. They told tales of fairies and dragons, of angels and demons, or of ordinary people living not-so-ordinary lives. She loved it, and ended going back for (almost) every meeting.

One day, another writer brought a beautiful short story about inspiration, believing in yourself, and a little girl who helped others to accomplish great things. Rachel was moved by the delicate simplicity of the writer's prose, and so Rachel sketched the little girl to show the writer what she felt.


This made the writer happy. 
Now, the story is being made into a children's book. It's up to me to make the art as good as it can be; I'm about a third of the way there so far. And our little protagonist has come far from that first sketch.

 By the way, I hope you all enjoyed the holidays as much as I did. It was good to get away from stress for a few days... but I'm glad to be back. :) Happy New Year. My resolution: finish these illustrations!

-Tsira