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I am also doing a game in BigJKO's new Cwine engine. It will not be anywhere near as gorgeous as his.

 

I started off doing an adaptation of my Twine game ("The Often Ending Story") to get used to Cwine, help JKO get it to a barebones yet sturdy state and get used to my new (and first ever) graphics tablet. JKO got Cwine to a good Jam state a day or so ago, and I've started to learn to what panel sizes/brushes etc work well, so I'm ready to start on my Jam comic.

 

Thing is, I've done so much work on this test comic, that I think I'm going to stick it in somewhere as a comic on a shelf that the player can pick up and play if they want before returning to the main story at any point. It's a little bit cheaty, as I wrote the original Twine ages ago, but what the hell.

 

So I'm trying to polish that off today, and then get working on the actual story. The only problem: I have no idea what it's going to be about. I was thinking I might make it about the Caillech Bheur, but perhaps contemporise her so I can riff a lot easier. I'm going to aim for a Fiona Staples style of art (though not as good, obviously) with black brushlines and simple shading so that I can bash out cartoony art very quickly and get a relatively big game written (the art for my test comic is semi-purposefully ugly).

 

JurPF55.png

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Having opened up and tried his test comic I can attest that it's totally brillo and much better than my three panels. :tup: :tup:

 

Also, thanks for bug testing my barely functioning cwine engine, Ben!!

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It's really neat to see you pick up the cwine gauntlet Ben. Can't wait to see what you cooked up.

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Thanks both! I'm a bit nervous that I won't be able to think of a good story though!

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Progress is going very slowly. I'm just finishing off the comic-in-comic today, so I'll have three days (minus sleep and girlfriend maintenance) to do the main story. I've come up with quite a nice little mystery story for it. It won't be too action-packed or branching or lengthy, but hopefully it'll be cute. I just need to limit myself to 5 minutes per panel!

 

I came up with a title that plays on an Elvis song. Maybe I'll stick an Elvis head lamp in there somewhere, like the one in DOTT.

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Alright, almost done! Just finetuning for an hour or so. But first a little break to post a grab of my Cwine 'project timeline':

 

http://i.imgur.com/Zh86e47.png

 

(that's a pretty wide image, I didn't want to break the forum formatting by embedding!)

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Released!

 

http://timegentleman.itch.io/blue-hag-christmas

 

Some provisos:

 

As the engine is WIP, there may be some weirdly placed and spaced stuff. Hopefully you'll be able to figure out the intent of the panel if this happens.

I ran out of time to really polish all the art, so there are some wonky bits here and there. All part of the charm!

There's a comic within the comic that you can play if you like and that you'll get many chances to bail from. I recommend having at least a quick dip into it.

If the display size isn't great, try the full-screen button!

 

Quick post-mortem:

 

I'm half-happy with this. There's some funny stuff and some nice art. There's also a lot of jokes that don't really work in this medium and some half-arsed art.

 

The main issue was that the engine was/is in its infancy, and I didn't want to risk having to re-work lots of art every time a big change was made. I decided to work on a practice comic until it felt relatively stable (this also gave me the chance to get used to my new, first ever graphics tablet). So I didn't have to waste time coming up with a story for this, I started adapting my Twine game, The Often Ending Story. I made it a bit more forgiving while I was there, as people had not enjoyed the many fail-restarts of the original. Unfortunately, I picked a very busy art style that required lots of pencil work, and this really slowed me down. At a certain point, I decided that I had spent enough time on it that I should finish it and insert it into the main comic. This took longer than I anticipated, so although it added a lot of (optional) material, it did compromise the main story a fair bit - it's not as actiony or as branching as I'd like, and is overall a bit rushed.

 

I also made some rookie art errors - I never managed to figure out the best combination of file types and settings to preserve my artwork while keeping the size down - there's a fair amount of artefacting (?) that I'm sad to see on some of the nicer panels. This is possibly at least partly to do with the fact that I'm using paint.net.

 

What I got wrong:

should have taken the re-working risk and started on the main story straight away

should have inspected the final assets closely and early on to avoid degradation

 

What I got right:

There's a lot of material in there

I think I used the interactive comic medium quite well (at least to Cwine's current capabilities)

There are a few diamonds in the rough, re. art and humour

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Thanks! Looking forward to variables etc being introduced!

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This is a great comic. It has it all: Penny Arcade, infinite nesting loops, motorboating ... A+++ will play again!

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Okay, so I guess I went into this game pretty blind, or I'm just forgetful, because I was totally unaware that there was a whole comic inside of the comic and didn't see it until my second playthrough. The sense of surprise that I got from totally misjudging the boundaries of the game the first time around made me audibly say "What?.... Whoa!". At which point my fianceé overheard and wanted to know what I was doing, so she played along with me through The Oftenending Story.

 

I enjoyed it. It has a nice sense of humour that puts a smile on your face.

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On 12/23/2015 at 8:12 PM, zerofiftyone said:

Okay, so I guess I went into this game pretty blind, or I'm just forgetful, because I was totally unaware that there was a whole comic inside of the comic and didn't see it until my second playthrough. The sense of surprise that I got from totally misjudging the boundaries of the game the first time around made me audibly say "What?.... Whoa!". At which point my fianceé overheard and wanted to know what I was doing, so she played along with me through The Oftenending Story.

 

I enjoyed it. It has a nice sense of humour that puts a smile on your face.

 

Ahhh, this is great! Regardless of the artistic quality of the game overall, this is one of the effects I was hoping it to have. It was the child of necessity and ended up diverting energy from the main story, but I did like the idea that the player could accidentally fall into a story within a story (which may then fall into another story *cough* Big *cough*).

 

I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the comment!

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Incidentally, I officially welcome negative comments on this thread too, so if you played this game and thought it was shit, please tell me why! (More positive feedback also welcome.)

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Oh, and re. Cwine, I deffo plan to use it again, but I might wait until it's at v1.0!

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I Was Satisfied With The Level Of Customer Support I Received From Cwine Ltd.

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So good Ben. Played through with my lady at my side and you had us both laughing multiple times throughout. 

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This was fun! It worked well on the Wii U tablet thing so nice work on that front.

I have some small gripes about readability, but probably cwine can be blamed a bit. It was really hard to tell what was click able. If I showed this to someone and didn't say it was an interactive comic, I don't think they'd get it at all.

But also your first panel with click ables could have been better. It would introduce the concept better if you had a non choice based click able early on that took up most of the panel and was clearly click able. Then someone knows stuff will be click able and what it'll look like.

I also thought that the cut away TV gags was a bit confusing because it hopped about too much without establishing that it was a TV screen. Making stuff more visually obvious and less ambiguous is a must for comics. More so with the evidence part. I couldn't tell what the thing hanging on the window was, and all the text showed me was associated ideas that didn't explain what the weird shape was.

That's too much negative now, so more positive! It was a lot of fun to explore the optional parts, it was funny and I was pleasantly surprised by the investigation aspect.

That does remind me of another problem that's Cwine's fault. I misclicked on the investigation scene and skipped past looking at any items. There should ideally be a way to roll back choices, like how twine can revert to a previous passage. That may be funky especially with games storing dynamic variables etc. But it'd be great if it was doable.

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On 12/29/2015 at 0:25 AM, SuperBiasedMan said:

This was fun! It worked well on the Wii U tablet thing so nice work on that front.

I have some small gripes about readability, but probably cwine can be blamed a bit. It was really hard to tell what was click able. If I showed this to someone and didn't say it was an interactive comic, I don't think they'd get it at all.

But also your first panel with click ables could have been better. It would introduce the concept better if you had a non choice based click able early on that took up most of the panel and was clearly click able. Then someone knows stuff will be click able and what it'll look like.

I also thought that the cut away TV gags was a bit confusing because it hopped about too much without establishing that it was a TV screen. Making stuff more visually obvious and less ambiguous is a must for comics. More so with the evidence part. I couldn't tell what the thing hanging on the window was, and all the text showed me was associated ideas that didn't explain what the weird shape was.

That's too much negative now, so more positive! It was a lot of fun to explore the optional parts, it was funny and I was pleasantly surprised by the investigation aspect.

That does remind me of another problem that's Cwine's fault. I misclicked on the investigation scene and skipped past looking at any items. There should ideally be a way to roll back choices, like how twine can revert to a previous passage. That may be funky especially with games storing dynamic variables etc. But it'd be great if it was doable.

 

Thanks for the feedback, I agree with all of it!

 

The text sizes etc in Cwine were getting improved right up to the last few hours. If I'd had more time, I would have tried to go back through and up the font size while downing the panel margins so everything still fit in. I still had issues getting it to do what I wanted anyway, so I had to settle with some problem panels. I like moving between panels with no words, a few words and then LOTS of words, but the latter was quite difficult to wrangle.

 

The clickability thing definitely was an issue. I realised too late that the orange glow doesn't really work if all the clickables are brown objects in a beige room, which was the case in my first room of choices! (I also almost missed half of JKO's comic because of this issue.) Hopefully Cwine will at some point allow for different colours , and perhaps add a funky outline function and/or a hotkey to do something like temporarily fade out the background so all you can see is the clickables. (add all that to my long list of feature-requests, please, BigJKO!)

 

I kept the tv stuff at the same angle as the tv in the room and then realised that I needed to pretty much crop the whole of the tv frame out in order to get the picture detail I wanted. I definitely would have redone those in a 'face on' angle so I could make it clearer it was the telly, if I hadn't left myself so little time at that point! Did I not at least have the word "moisturiser" next to the moisturiser evidence? I'm very annoyed at myself if so!

 

The thing about accidentally leaving the evidence scene is a tough one. I suppose I could have had a panel with her outside giving the player a chance to go back before moving on to the interrogation scenes. But what if the player mis-clicks again? I don't really like the idea of them being able to rewind through the story at any point, but it would be good to come up with a way of making it more difficult to accidentally leave a scene there's no way back to without a clumsy "are you sure?" pop-up. I suppose you could just have a panel with the character leaving, and a clickable of them deciding not to leave just yet, but there must be a more elegant, interface-based solution...

 

I'm glad you enjoyed it overall - it's nice to hear people found it funny! I hoped people would at least find the structure interesting but I worried that most of the humour would fall flat.

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Oh you did write moisturiser come to think of it, I just didn't realise that meant it was moisturiser. I still thought it might be a glove that smelled of it or something.

Also you're probably right that it'd be most elegant to have one panel where you can just turn back to investigate more. I know that always allowing any roll back isn't necessarily what creators would want.

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