Comic!

7 Jan 2014

I’ve always loved drawing comics. And hey, Turtle Comics were the predecessor to Introvert. I drew comics on paper, and some turtle pictures using Paint (and eventually Photoshop).

But it’s only until recently did I start drawing comics on paper that related to Introvert’s story. I had paper and lots of free time while outside, so I tend to draw a lot!

And then I thought how great it would be if I could redraw those comics on my computer, converting the comics into digital format, and putting it in the game!

Would that make a great idea?

So I drew a few frames, and I think this is one of the highest quality comics I’ve ever drawn on my computer. I’ve drawn better stuff, but they weren’t comics – more like single pictures that stood out on their own, never a chain of pictures put together to form a story.

Suddenly, I was spending hours on this ‘Introvert comic’.

It can take me 3 hours to draw a single frame, and it is hell lot of work.

Pictured above: Hell lot of work.

But having a comic in the game is something that keeps me motivated to work on Introvert, especially when my energy is getting drained on the less interesting to-do stuff.

I managed to draw 8 frames in the past week or so. I was quite happy that I was making progress, but I’m as happy with the rate I’m going at actually. I feel quite slow, but it’s also because I’ve been really tired and distracted lately. I usually complete a full comic in one or two days, but then again, the comics I used to draw never had complex backgrounds and shading only appeared on main characters or objects. Simple as it looks, this is a great improvement from the comics I used to draw in Paint, or anywhere else for that matter.

My friend, Han, was quite impressed with the quality of the comic which I drew in high-res. I draw 4 frames per page of the comic, and it really lags my computer when I am working on the final frame of one page of the comic because all the other frames are drawn on the same file!

Any how, I was wondering whether to further improve the comic, and not just make it a normal comic. I want to push my limits!

I played a game called “Memories of You” on Kongregate. It’s a Spot the Difference game that requires you to spot the difference between two comics. The music is okay, and the sound effects are really good. When you flip to a page that shows a girl laughing, the sound of laughter plays just as you flip the page. I think playing that game triggered some motivational spark deep within me.

That game also has “alternate” endings based on which difference you spotted first in the comic. And yes, their comic has quite a touching story, which was what drew my attention to it, and inspired me to draw a comic for Introvert too, but for different reasons:

The first is to tackle a problem with the game itself. Li Hao played my game and he forgot the story as he progressed to the later levels. Well, the story isn’t impactful enough and that’s one thing, but there’s a restriction on how much of the story I can change. But adding a comic page that appears after you complete a chapter is like showing the player a quick recap or summarize what happened in the past chapter, so the story isn’t too easily lost or forgotten. Showing the comic periodically is a nice way to wrap up what the player has accomplished in the past few levels, or at least that’s what I think. I’m not sure what my Game Designer thinks yet though…this may all be a bad idea for all I know and may be changed in the future. We shall see.

After looking at “Memories of You”, I thought of my own ways to make my comic stand out a bit more. I wanted to do parallax scrolling, with camera panning, camera zooming, fade-in and fade-out effects on objects or characters in the scene, and possibly even tiny animations for specific scenes of the comic – tiny animations or slight movement that have two frames maximum, because animating this is a lot of work!

I really wanted to push this comic to its limits.

But this idea caused problems. If you have a page full of animating pictures, it’s hard to pay attention to each one of them when the story unfolds. I could instead display one frame per page so it isn’t distracting, but it might not be so nice, and doesn’t achieve everything the comic would.

Han then made a terrific idea! He said I could actually do BOTH! I could make a comic, and yet do the special effects for specific scenes in the comic! I really liked that idea of having one gigantic, detailed, slightly animated frame, followed by a string of comics, and then another gigantic frame for main events that happen in the story. Coincidentally, I drew sketches of one of such frames when I was at work today.

I also went further to think about how the “comic” should be best presented in the game, and when would be the best way or time to show the player the scenes. The original idea is to present a page at the end of each chapter, as said above.

I wanted to make an ‘unlocking’ system though, where the comic doesn’t come in full at first, but have the pictures “fade” in based on how much progress you make in the game.

One of the ideas I had was to give the player a book. The book is all blank at the start, but as you progress through the game, the book fills up with pictures which form a story as you progress.

My friend chipped in, saying that if I did that, I could even have some hidden comics (a secret page) that is found by exploring the game.

And then, I had this “brilliant” idea. WHY NOT DO BOTH? I could have the “Book” accessible from the a location like the Main Menu (not confirmed), to browse unlocked Comics, and this way, I could even implement the Hidden Pages concept.

AWESOME!

All that is a lot of work, and I’m going to be as busy as I ever will be. And I wonder why I write so much sometimes. It’s not like anybody will read this since this blog is sorta ‘unknown’ at this point in time. Only 2 people know of this blog after all, and that statistic includes myself.

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