A public dumping ground for words and pictures. Contact me at ThomasTamblyn@Gmail.com

Sunday 21 June 2009

Mongo smash

A return to the hospital. Another example of what happens when the hideous surgical experiments go right. When I return to the psychoborgs I might re-use the technique of matching the skin tint to the colour of the vile fluid being pumped through them.

These brutes are almost but not quite annoyingly symmetrical. The legs give just about enough motion for me to let it slide - though some of that was lost from the sketch now that I stop and look.

I struggled for a long time with the hands. I spent too long on misguided attempts at fingers before remembering that there was a good reason I'm doing stickmen. So they have hideous mittens instead. If I decide they lack enough colour I'd add it on the gauntlets, maybe even hazard stripes or similar. Maybe even incorporate the shapes into the linework, sicne the gauntlets are the bit I'm least happy with.

I lost track of which bits are supposed to be modular while making these, so there's odd little bits that don't have counterparts; #1's pot belly for example. It doesn't strike me as a problem.

If I can give the hospital enough variety I might be able to subdivide it like I for the coastal cult. I could distinguish between cyborgs like these and pure fleshy nastiness like... hmm. I suppose I've not done any of those. I'll add that to the drawing board. I might also experiment with the "vile fluid" motif a little more. Some kind of chemical-wielding madman with a hose might work.

Thursday 11 June 2009


I decided at the last minute that these generic floaty wizards were lightning-themed. It's not really reflected anywhere on them except their staffs, and I imagine those are far from obvious to people who aren't me.

But that's ok. They're not lightning-themed wizards, they're wizards who specialise in lightning. They'll do fine as part of the university, or as generics otherwise.

They're not the first floaty characters I've done, but it's still a nice way to get a novel pose. Fixes the flatfoot problem too.

I did something unusual here; they each have one minor interchangeable detail. From left to right, gloves, boots and trousers. I didn't want all three to have (say) different styles of gloves, and trivial boot variations are getting really hard for me. So! Different detail area for each and they're all swappable. I suppose I could put them all on the same character, but I can't see much gained from that. I'll probably do more of this kind of thing when I can. It seems like it'll help make variations look more like individuals.

Colours were a pain to do. They're ncie and vivid at least. Possibly too vivid in places. I can't imagine I won't redo them at some point. But not now.

Idea in progress: cyber-surgical hulk.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Things to buy

Buying and selling is fun. Being able to hoard stuff is fun. Being given stuff as a reward is fun. I've been thinking more about the economic side of things. Mainly I've been thinking about things that you use lots of and are likely to have stockpiled. Stone, wood and metal for example would be the goods used to expand your guild house. Meat, fish, spices, wine and beer would be consumed by your guild members.

I want a tiered system, where goods can come in three flavours; common, exotic and rare. Not coincidentally these classifications work as universal prefixes for any of the goods I've mentioned so far. Common goods would be the default and exotic goods useful for the kind of stuff you'd like to migrate to as your guild improves. Rare goods would be very valuable - a quantity of rare meats, for example, would be an appropriately valuable reward for a mission - the kind of thing that you always want but can't necessarily afford.

Because I don't want common goods to be irrelevant to higher-tier players and I want exotic goods to remain feeling exotic, I'd make it so quantities of common goods are always required for anything of that type, but higher-level stuff might also require exotic or rare goods. So a basic guild hall might need 10 common wood and 10 common stone, but a mid-level hall might need 10 common wood, 10 common stone, 5 exotic wood and 5 exotic stone. Numbers pulled out of my ass.

It would be really easy to add extra levels of quality over or parallel to rare, but they'd probably be special cases. For example, "mysterious" meat that might be used to make the best meals of the game or be totally useless - with no way of knowing until you try. I also wonder whether there should be a staple food category for things like bread, milk, cheese and eggs that isn't interesting to be detailed. You just stock X quantity of "staples" to pad out your guild members' diet.

I'd like to encourage a lot of trading and speculation on these kind of goods as their relative value changes week to week, which means a limited supply. I've vague notions of players having an income of X units of resource Y per day based on their location, and also with access to a trader who will sell and buy goods for variable prices. But those are still vague ideas.

To go back to food, individual characters could have a preference for meat over fish, wine over beer or vice-versa and get an increased benefit from foods of that type. They might also specifically love or hate spiced food. That could be interesting, or boring.

I think food is going to be one of the major expenses for supporting a large guild. A money sink to help mitigate mudflation. But I don't want it to just be a meaningless expense.

Characters have a "stamina" value which is boosted by eating high-quality food. Stamina is like a pool of healing that is automatically depleted by characters to remove damage in between encounters. High stamina doesn't make individual encounters any easier, but it gives you more margin for error for the mission as a whole. In this way high quality food and drink can be a tactical decision before a difficult job.

The mechanic probably needs a little embelishment and tweaking - maybe making stamina level determine a regen rate rather than actually depleting to heal - but I like the basic idea.

Tango Foxtrot

I find myself with some more pirates to throw on the pile. I sketched this one as a generic armoured guy with a shield, but had more fun with the idea of a pirate carrying a drink in the left hand.

The bottle is a bit specific, but the pose wouldn't allow for (say) a beer stein without encroaching on the torso detail. I toyed with giving one of them a sack slung over the shoulder in that hand, but couldn't pull it off. And so the bottle it is. I'll need to make sure they're not over-represented or it could look silly.

Fairly generic as pirates go. Not really a bad thing; it's good to bulk out the crew. I like the name too - Bravo is a good word to describe people. Possibly even too good to waste on these particular characters, but we'll see.

I don't really have much interesting to say about these, now that I think about it. The pose has enough of a sense of weight to it that I'm content. The nodes are nice and sparse. There's a fair amount of variety in the details and the colour. They're pretty adequate in all respects.

A hideous, five-beaked maw

The tentacles have been reinforced. Eyestalks, a hideous five-beaked maw and another tentacle style for variety. I think there's a complete elder squid god here.

Individual tentacles summoned by the sea-cult are fine to start, but later on you can encounter multiple tentacles with an eyestalk, and eventually the vile feeding tube. The makings of a nice set of escalating boss encounters. I think I've got just enough material for two sea-cult themed missions; one based around the mundane weirdness of the cult and the other more about the mutants and awakened elder squid god.

Nice bit of continuity to come back to an old area for new encounters. I might also press-gang the old fishers into the sea cult. I'm moving away from the idea of dedicated recruitable characters a little, and in this specific case I think they'd be useful for another set of mundane sea-culters along with the dock thugs and acolytes.

I felt vain so I did a quick marquee select+fill job to give these something like a background. Each part being confined to the character frame prevents it looking terribly dynamic as a whole, but that's unavoidable and the problem lessens the fewer parts are present at once; I just wanted to see the whole range lined up.

I'm fairly happy with the new parts. They were fun to make, and they look better than the first two tentacles without obviating them. Eyestalks are a little cliché but the dual-eye tentacle with that weird puil works well enough for me. The mouth seems a little bare, even with the corded look to its "neck". I could carefully pattern the hide. In fact, some kind of minor shading or patterning seems like it would be a good idea for all of the tentacle bits. No rush though.

Trying for two new skill icons based on these; the eyes and the beak seem distinctive enough and would have obvious uses.

Still feel a little guilty about how simple tentacles are. These were fun to make and involved enough decision-making that they weren't trivial, but they don't feel "real." I'm sure I'll come up with something new soon enough. Lately I've been skitting about between themes. It's good to add breadth to old ideas, but lacking focus means lots of staring at a blank sheet of paper with no particular idea what I should be trying to do.