Gato and Neko may be unusually small for domestic shorthairs, but Gato is quite the little piglet when it comes to food scraps. She’ll stick her face in your food the second you aren’t looking, rendering it quite unappetizing. I once caught her stealing some broccoli and devouring it. I mean, broccoli? Are cats supposed to like broccoli?
James here! One thing we didn’t show off at PAX was Charlie Murder’s world map, because, well, it was in a rough state. The big hassle, which sounds simple enough but turned out to be stupidly complicated (partly because of how I store world map nodes) was in unlocking new nodes, fogging out inaccessible nodes, and only allowing travel to nodes that have been visited or can be newly visited. Part of the solution involved making all nodes compare themselves to a list of areas the player has unlocked, setting visible and visitable flags (turns out “visitable” is not a real word), PLUS MORE CONFUSE. I pulled it off, but not without channeling Computer Science Class James, eager to solve some problems, always showing his work. Thank you, world map, for making me feel dumb again.
Michelle again! Ever wonder what your Art Unicorn is working on? Since I started giving Charlie Murder a makeover, I’ve had to figure out the balance between keeping the rough style the game embodies and giving it just enough polish to make it shine. To do this, I’ve gone over much of the existing art redrawing lines and adding depth. Some things, such as the cars, I tossed out completely and started over from scratch.
They’re still the same car: same color and same general shape but completely redone. These simple cars, that players will spend most of their time destroying and throwing around, somehow took a big chunk of time to get “right”. I probably redrew these cars a baker’s dozen times. It’ll never match perfectly but if we can find a way to make our two styles blend and look good together, then that’s when we have succeeded.
Initially, I struggled. I struggled a lot. James can attest to my cries of frustration. In doing my own personal work, even when teaching myself something new, I can do what I want. In terms of doing art for other people, I’ve done much freelance work and even some art when I worked at ArenaNet. All of this was easy. I didn’t have to think very hard about someone else’s style.
James has tried to explain what he’s going for many times but it never really sunk in until one day I was reading an article about Ratfist, the webcomic by Doug Tennapel. James’ art and Doug Tennapel’s are not the same for many reasons but there is an energy and line quality to it that I could learn from. I tried doing some Charlie art while loosely keeping Doug’s style in mind and BLAMMO, I had something I could work with. It’s probably still not entirely perfectly matched.
By the time Charlie Murder is done, I’ll have redrawn same lamppost or crate a hundred times. But that’s OK, because that’s what iteration is all about.