A sketch in search of something more substantial. As usual.
Acorn Island was a simple, hand-drawn game I ran on Twitter in October 2017 (also as part of #inktober2017). The idea was to draw something in pen and ink and then post it to Twitter where players could choose what to do / where to go next. I’m sure it’s been done before, but I wanted to make a game out of relatively simple tools such as a pen, paper and a smartphone. Maybe it’s more an ‘interactive story’ than a game. I don’t know. You decide.
It was good to be forced to invent something new everyday while attempting to carry along a story. I didn’t impose any rules on myself, beyond not being allowed to think or plan things too much. The game contains all the usual silly animals in hats, trees and pirates. I’m amazed at how much my drawing style changed over the month. I definitely wanted a looser feel by the end. Anyway, below are the 31 different images that came out of the game. Below the images is a link to the Twitter thread (where most of the posts are, but not all. It took me time to figure out that I could just keep replying to myself).
This is simply a daft doodle made after I was reminded over on Twitter of the Kit-Kat Club. It was an 18th Century London club for the Whigs of the day. I have very fond memories of working as a designer on the National Portrait Gallery’s website years ago (almost 20 years in fact) while at Cogapp. I filled up the pages of my sketchbook with inky drawings of Gentlemen Whigs in Wigs.
Here’s the Kit-Kat Club on Wikipedia, if you’re interested in that kind of thing.
A while ago I posted a blog post talking about AR and pirates. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to have been granted a workplace at the Brighton Fuse Box, where all sorts of artists and developers work on their AR and VR projects. I’ve spent the first couple of weeks trying to not look too bemused when people start saying technical stuff about shaders. I’ve also been figuring out what I want to do with the opportunity and it looks like Godot’s recent improved support for OpenVR has coincided nicely with me actually making something (rather than thinking about making something in-between paid work, as is usually the case).
The first milestone I’m heading for is to get a decent looking environment built using hand drawn assets. Then I’ll be looking to implement Godot’s OpenVR plugin to make a very simple virtual setting. I’m hoping I’ll be getting some collaboration on this. At this stage I have no idea if the idea will be successful, but I’ve spent a fun Friday afternoon making some assets and sticking them in the Godot Engine. Below is a very short (and a trifle dull) video of me testing texture sizes but hopefully things will get more interesting as the project continues over the next few weeks.
Why use Godot? Why not use Unity3D instead? After all, the latter is fast approaching the status of Industry Standard when it comes to game, AR and VR dev (at least it is around here). I can’t really point to a better reason than I really like Godot, it’s editor and it’s approach. I like that it’s open source and that using it doesn’t commit you to a private company’s business structure and release schedule. Of course, there are often frustrations when using relatively young, open source tools but so far it’s all good. Next time I post about this I hope it will be something more substantial.
Here’s something I made late last year. A kind of ‘hidden object’ comic. The Ramblers was drawn in pencil on Bristol board, inked with a Hunt #102 nib with Speedball Super Black India ink. Coloured on the computer. I was going to hand letter it, but lost my nerve at the last minute and did that on the computer too, I’m glad I did and I hope you like it!
Here are some more images of some of the details:
Every now and again I go through my Google Photos and work folders to remind myself of stuff I’ve made in the past. Here’s something I’ve blogged elsewhere, but want to put here because I’m still very proud of it: a pixel-perfect-platform game called ‘Foxtrot! that I, Owen Bennett and Tom Gisby made a few years ago. The iOS version was removed from Apple’s App Store for being too old but the Android version of the game still lives here on Google Play (although it may be too old for your new fangled device), I’ve set it to ‘Free’ so you shouldn’t be charged to play it. I hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I enjoyed making it.
Here’s the game trailer:
The truth about ‘Foxtrot!’ is that it’s rather challenging, and we never really solved the ‘old touch screen buttons’ issue. Actually, we did solve it, with a rather nifty split-screen solution. Those who got this new control scheme loved it. Every one else hated it. I naively hoped gamers would embrace innovation, but it was a mistake I shall never repeat. Never mind, ‘Foxtrot!’ was my first published game and a labour of love. And here it lies, always remembered.