Monday, October 13, 2014

Crayon Video Game Art

For our upcoming RPG game Ninja Level Up, the decision was made to create all of the game graphics by hand using Crayola crayons on paper.  This gives the game quite a unique look, but it also provides challenges not faced when using traditional computer based artwork.

Sumo Enemy
The first challenge I did not anticipate, was the image quality that is obtained through the computer scanner.  Simply put, crayon art does not scan well at all.  Some colors, particularly yellows and oranges, barely show up at all through the scan.  This has caused me to rethink color schemes for scenes and redraw images as needed.  It also does not help that wax from the crayons is constantly sticking to the screen on the scanner, requiring me to clean off the scan tray after each picture is scanned.  Actually, the entire picture scanning process as a whole has proven to be more of a hassle then it is worth.  After completing Ninja Level Up, I highly doubt I will ever use hand-drawn graphics in a video game again (unless the style proves popular, of course.  I can always get over the hassle if it leads to coin).

River Zone

Chigiriki Weapon
Additionally, drawing artwork with crayons is a lot more challenging than I had anticipated.  Granted, it has been almost two decades since I did any sort of drawing with Crayolas, but I figured it would be an easy art style since hey, kids use them all the time.  I could not have been more wrong.  The crayons need to be sharpened after every single picture.  The sharpening process sucks.  If you grip the crayons too tight they break.  I did not realize how fragile these things were!  Finally, the colors do not mix well on paper, and often time the color looks completely different on paper then it does on the actual crayon.

Anyway, despite these complaints, progress on Ninja Level Up is actually starting to come along quite nicely.  I hope to have all graphics done by the end of this week, and the coding done by the end of next week, for a late October/early November release.  Ninja Level Up is going to be a bit more story driven than my previous two RPG games, so whether or not that is a pro or con will be based on the individual player's tastes. 

Look for Ninja Level Up in the coming weeks for Android, iOS, Windows, Windows Phone, Kindle, and on the web in HTML5!

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