Background Music

I needed to make a mockup of the videogame I wanted to make. So I started with this:

I just grabbed a background off of DuckDuckGo. After all, there was no way I was gonna keep it. The actual background will be particular to the game.

Still, I wanted to stretch the grassy bit so none of the characters was floating in the air. And it would be nice if the backdrop fit the color palette I’ve been tweaking over the last three years. So I made an attempt to push it closer to my palette, and make it fit the characters. While I was at it, I smeared things around with a rough brush.

I shouldn’t’ve. It doesn’t matter after all. This will never be used in a final game. It’s wasted effort, it is.

Well, Sunday I don’t work on whatever my project o’ the month is. And since work on the background doesn’t count as work on the game, as the final game will have backgrounds made to order for the story, I decided to mess around with it a little.

I quickly discovered my palette needs more greens. I’m always running into limitations on my palette, and that’s fine. The point of having it is to A) force myself to be creative within constraints, and B) ensure my colors look okay when printed. But sometimes I run in to a wall so many times I decide there ought not be a wall there. So I added one more green and tweaked the other colors to accommodate it. We went from this to this:

Then, rather than try and push the image into the tweaked palette, I just repainted it from memory. So, at this point it should bear no more than a passing resemblance to the original photo.

Now, this is just the work of an hour or two. But it’s got me thinking.

  • At the start of this new painting, the clouds had a more realistic shape, but at some point I noticed a boxy mass in the clouds and I liked it so much I over-emphasized it and pushed the rest of the clouds to echo it. I like cartoony shapes. This is why kids’ books work so well for me.
  • But I don’t like making backgrounds, except when the mood strikes. This is one of many reasons why I fancy Vidya: make my backgrounds when I’m in a landscaping sort of a mood, re-use them ’til the cows come home. With kids’ books or comic books you gotta put the background in almost all the time, and it’s gotta be a fresh drawing, or your audience feels cheated.
  • Of course, there are other reasons I like vidya. I enjoy logic and game design. I enjoy animation. I prefer building spaces to explore over building sequences to follow. And I’ve wanted to make vidya ever since I saw a cousin playing Sonic 2.

Vidya is more work than kids’ books, by a lot. It’s more work than comic books, too. And yet I feel like I want to do vidya instead of kids’ books and instead of comic books in part out of laziness. Not that I think video games are easier to make, but that the effort lies where I want to expend effort, and the bits I don’t want to do are less of a focus.

Anyway, it’s Sunday. Even an hour of painting backgrounds that will never make it into a final game is a little naughty. I should be getting the family ready for church and then, afterwards, watching movies or playing games. The Lord grants rest to those He loves, after all.

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