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

Sunday 15 December 2013

Pagemages and Boozehorns

These were me getting back in the saddle after a while away. They started with the pose, pulling something out of a book. The scarf was to add a little character beyond generic wizardliness. The robes are lazy I confess. I too often go with shapeless full-length robes, but I think the shading here gives them a bit more definition. I feel good about those creases. They're not great, but my first effort was so much worse. And I feel I've imrpvoed from recognising the problems and fixing them.

I'm sticking with doing vector colouring/shading, and I made the linework for these with that in mind. So I knew I'd be putting a coloured pattern on the scarves, and that I could demarcate #1 and #2's hair without needing to blackline it. Which is new. I used the "spare" lines left in the budget to put a little more expression on their faces. Not sure about that. I wonder if it would be better to do it on the shading layer. I think it's only a matter of time before I give up on the no-mouth line-eyes look. Style erosion.

The unlined spell effects are also new and I can see myself doing a lot more things along those lines. For these guys I deliberately avoided any sort of elemental theming. #1 has flames, yes, but they're blue so they're passable as a generic magical effect.

Next there's these satyr things. I had something else in mind while sketching, but the drunken faun is far more interesting to me. Very fond of the various boozes and goat-beards. The horns were an enormous pain in the arse. One of the downsides of vector colouring - that horn texture would have been much easier in photoshop.

I think these satyrs are knights who have gone questing into the woods and been cursed for their unchivalric vices. In this case, the knights were drunkards. I could easily conceive of gluttonous pig-monsters and maybe slothful bear-men?

These cursed knights would fill a good niche in the theoretical game these are never going to be used for. I didn't feel like the forest witches were actually evil. Cursed monsters gives you something you can feel good about fighting, also making the witches more of a credible menace without making them evil.

Saturday 7 December 2013


Super-units in RTS games. They're tricky.

The units with strange or unique abilities/roles like super-artillery or cloaking fields or missile defence are fine. But the generic megabot that's just big and tough and covered in guns is problematic. Lovely idea. Giant stompy robot crushing lesser vehicles under foot. Spectacular. The questions is what function do they serve that an equivalent amount of regular units doesn't? Why build them?

The thor in Starcraft 2 is a lovely example of this problem. A large, impressive super-heavy mech. Like most megabots its primary function is looking impressive. The thor was big, tough and dealt high damage to ground and air targets. But they didn't do much that a bunch of marines couldn't do just as well.

In Supreme Commander 1&2, gameplay niche matters much less. But in general, the megabot units are a more concentrated way to deploy your resources. The megabots are so big and so powerful that an equivalent army of basic units can't be concentrated in a small enough area to be effective.

In the vanilla RTS paradigm units don't perform worse when damaged, so a megabot at 50% health is much stronger than an army with 50% of its units gone. And conversely, you can attack or defend with half an army of tanks, while a megabot that's only 50% constructed is worthless. (Supcom2's "launch half-baked" option excepted). But these differences aren't exactly tactically rich.

So I was thinking about this and I had a weird idea. What if megabots were cheaper than an equivalent army of tanks? Costing maybe half as much as the amount of tanks it would take to kill them.

But taking much longer to build. Really long. That way the megabot's strategic importance isn't what it can do in combat, it's what it requires economically. It requires a different resource to regular units - time rather than money.

So a megabot is an investment, or maybe a gamble. You're accepting a loss of resources with the promise of a massive payoff if you can survive. If other players can scout the in-progress megabot, then it becomes a strategic objective with a tim-limit.