Each year my other half creates a little Christmas themed online game to send out as a Christmas card to family and friends. It’s an opportunity for him to learn some new tool or technique and try it out in a fun way.
I don’t usually get involved much but this year he embarked on creating his own 2D point and click adventure game engine. Various engines already exist for people to use but he had his reasons for wanting to create a new one. If you’re interested in the details of all that then he wrote about it over on DreamsOfGerontius.com
The Christmas game was to be a test of the features so far and to help guide the next round of improvements. So we came up with a little story together and I sketched out the scenes and objects I’d need to draw.
You play the role of a little elf eager to help Santa deliver presents. Santa agrees that you can deliver one present while he’s taking care of the other 526,000,000. It’ll keep you out of trouble, he thinks. But of course you manage to get into a bit of a mess just visiting a single home.
In the original story you had to venture all over the house and complete various puzzles and tasks to deliver the gift and make it back to the roof in time for Santa’s pick up. I made all the concept sketches planning out what final illustrations would be needed and we had a good chunk of time in December with not much to do except work on this.
Here’s where I should mention that I spent most of this year making a tiny human. I didn’t have to actively do much, things just sort of took care of themselves and I could get on with whatever else I felt like doing during a global pandemic lockdown. Mostly this was eating crisps, watching Netflix, and drawing (pregnancy carpal tunnel permitting). She was due to arrive early in the New Year and so December was a time to put my feet up and just wait. Plenty of time to finish this little game we thought… when she arrived early it all went out the window.
Christmas came and went, we still hadn’t done the game and it was looking increasingly like it would never happen. Rather than just give up we hacked at the story and settled on a hugely scaled back version of the game, essentially taking place in a single room instead of over the whole house. Most of the puzzles were cut, a few were kept and simplified. It’s now just a very quick little demo of the game engine, cute and fun.
Geoff found the whole exercise useful in terms of identifying and prioritising changes to the game engine so it’s easy and useful for people to get started creating their own adventures. Once some of the upgrades have been done we’ve said we might try again to create something more substantial.
I got to draw a few fun pictures (the vicious cat below is my favourite thing) in a limited Christmas red and green colour palette. The concept sketches were mainly just for me to keep track of what was left to do and give Geoff something to start working with until the final images were ready so they didn’t need to be pretty or even make much sense to anyone else 🙂
I also got to try out the gif creation feature in Procreate for the simple celebratory fireworks below. This was quick and easy and works really well.
If you want to try the game out for yourself then you can play it here. I think it only works on desktop/laptop/tablet/etc. and not on phones.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and that 2021 brings us all brilliant things.